Lakhimpur Kheri, UP:
UP Police are attempting to “recreate” the horrific events that took place at Lakhimpur Kheri earlier this month, when four farmers were mowed down by a car belonging to Union Minister Ajay Mishra.
The police brought Mr Mishra’s son, Ashish, who is accused of the farmers’ murder to the scene, along with his friend and co-accused Ankit Das, and are using cop cars to recreate the events of that day.
Ashish Mishra was arrested last week – after spending nearly seven days as a free man despite being named in the FIR (first information report). Yesterday he was denied bail by a local court.
His arrest followed 12 hours of questioning by members of the police team formed to investigate the Lakhimpur incident, and that questioning came after an intervention by the Supreme Court, which asked UP Police if it was treating Ashish Mishra differently because of his high-profile father.
The police had earlier denied that Ashish Mishra’s obvious family connections had influenced them.
After his arrest Ashish Mishra was sent to three days’ remand with UP Police.
That remand expires today.
Yesterday a delegation of Congress leaders, led by Rahul Gandhi, met President Ram Nath Kovind, and urged him to speak to the government on this issue.
The Congress and other opposition parties have demanded that Ajay Mishra – who, as the junior Home Minister, oversees national policing issues – step down in order to ensure a fair probe.
“The families believe that till his minister father is in the post there can be no justice. This is also the demand of the people of the UP and all-right thinking people of the country… The president said he will consult the government,” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said.
Rahul Gandhi demanded that two sitting Supreme Court judges should probe the Lakhimpur incident – currently being investigated by a SIT from UP Police. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, earlier ruled out a CBI investigation of the deaths, citing “persons involved” – seen as a reference to Ajay Mishra.
Both Ashish Mishra and his father have denied all charges.
Mr Mishra told NDTV the car belonged to his family but neither he nor his son were in it at the time. He has also resisted calls to resign; he met his boss, Amit Shah, this month.