A five-member Congress delegation on Wednesday called on President Ram Nath Kovind urging his intervention for dismissal of Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra and instituting an independent judicial probe by two sitting judges of the Supreme Court in the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence that killed eight people, including four farmers.
The delegation, comprising Rahul Gandhi, former ministers AK Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad and AICC general secretary Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Vadra, told the President that ends of justice could not be served until Mishra was sacked considering his son Ashish Mishra is an accused in the case and was seen “my many eyewitnesses at the scene of the crime”.
After the meeting, Priyanka said the President had assured them that he would talk to the government on the issue today itself while Rahul noted that no justice could be done until the junior minister was dismissed.
Citing Mishra’s September 27, 2021 provocations to farmers where he said “mend your ways or I will” and a pending high court appeal against Mishra’s acquittal in a murder case, the Congress in a memorandum to the President said, “Despite this context of criminality and abuse of power, Ajay Mishra continues in office as the Union MoS Home Affairs. Given that the BJP leaders, including UP CM Adityanath, continue to make conciliatory statements towards him, suggests this situation is unlikely to change without intervention. Mishra’s role is also yet to be investigated and the same is unlikely while he continues in office.”
Terming the Kheri violence a “deliberate act of murder”, the Congress leaders said, “Lakhs of farmers have been protesting against the three black farm laws at the doorstep of Delhi for close to a year now. The Modi government has refused to relent or have a meaningful conversation with them. Their policy appears to be to tire and retire the annadatas, a strategy doomed to failure.”
Citing minister Mishra’s anti-farmer statements made on the day of Bharat Bandh on September 27, the Congress memorandum said, “How can justice be done when the original provocation came from Union MoS Home Affairs himself?”
The delegation said that on October 3 as farmers carried out their peaceful protests, a cavalcade of vehicles (two owned by the minister and family) mowed down four farmers (and a journalist).
“It was one of the most gruesome and premeditated acts of bone-chilling murder ever seen and caught on camera. Multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed that the minister’s son Ashish Misra was in the vehicle,” the leaders said, adding that an FIR was registered and Ashish Mishra arrested only after Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi visited the families of the deceased.
“Justice cannot be done until the MoS Home is sacked. This is the voice of not just the families of the deceased but of all the farmers and this voice is being suppressed,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters after the meeting.
Priyanka said the President had assured them that he would talk to the government today itself on this matter. “This is the demand of the people and not just of the Congress Party,” she said.