Eight people were killed in the violence last October — four of them farmers allegedly mowed down by an SUV in which some BJP workers were travelling.

A collage of Ashish Mishra in the foreground and the violence at Lakhimpur Kehri in the backgroundImage: PTI
news Court Tuesday, January 04, 2022 - 09:26
Written by  PTI

The Special Investigation Team probing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence filed a chargesheet Monday, January 3, against 14 accused, triggering a fresh demand from the opposition for the sacking of Union Minister of State (Home Affairs) Ajay Mishra whose son is among them. Police have arrested 13 of the accused mentioned in the FIR lodged at Tikunia police station after the violence last October in which eight people were killed — four of them farmers allegedly mowed down by an SUV in which some BJP workers were travelling.

Two BJP workers and their driver were lynched by angry farmers. A journalist also died. The chargesheet in which the minister's son, Ashish Mishra, is named was filed in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Chinta Ram. The charges include murder, attempt to murder and violations under the Arms Act.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the Narendra Modi government as the news of the chargesheet came in. "The entire country has seen the truth of the 5,000-page chargesheet in the form of a video. Yet the Modi government is trying to save the accused. India is a witness! #Lakhimpur#Farmers", he said in a tweet in Hindi, while seeking the dismissal of the Minister of State for Home Affairs.

Apart from the 13 people arrested so far, another accused Virendra Shukla's name has been added in the chargesheet under Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), senior prosecution officer SP Yadav told reporters in Lakhimpur Kheri. Shukla, however, is yet to be arrested.

Along with the minister's son, the FIR names Ankit Das, Nandan Singh Bisht, Satyam Tripathi, Latif alias Kale, Shekhar Bharti, Sumit Jaiswal, Ashish Pandey, Lavkush Rana, Shishu Pal, Ullas Kumar alias Mohit Trivedi, Rinku Rana and Dharmendra Banjara. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said "false apologies" and withdrawal of farm laws would not help "coverup Modi's anti-farmer mindset".

"They are in the position of protectors but stand with the destroyer. In the chargesheet of the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre case, the son of the Union Minister of State for Home is the main accused in the crushing of farmers," she said in a tweet in Hindi. "But due to Narendra Modi ji's patronage, minister Ajay Mishra Teni did not even come under the scrutiny of the investigation and he remains on his post," Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged, demanding his dismissal.

The Congress in Uttar Pradesh made the same demand. Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Kumar Lallu claimed that the chargesheet mentions that the minister's son was present at the spot and was the main accused . “What more evidence is now required for the dismissal of Ajay Mishra," Lallu said in Lucknow. He alleged that such a big incident was not possible without a signal from the minister.

Violence had erupted in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 when farmers were protesting the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to Mishra's home district. Ajay Mishra is the MP from Kheri Lok Sabha seat.