Four days after eight people, including four protesting farmers, were killed in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri – many of the dead mowed down by SUVs including one allegedly belonging to junior Union home minister Ajay Kumar Mishra – the Uttar Pradesh Police has summoned the minister’s son Ashish Mishra for questioning. Two people, identified as Luv Kush and Ashish Pandey who were in the same vehicle, have been arrested, NDTV reported, citing the police.
The move came hours after the Supreme Court asked the UP government who had been arrested so far for the October 3 incident. “There are farmers and others persons also have been murdered. we need to know who are the accused against whom FIR is registered and who is arrested. Please file a status report on this,” Justice Surya Kant, one of the judges on the bench had said.
This is the first time the police have asked to question Ashish Mishra. While a first information report against him was filed on Monday, the police inaction so far had set off Opposition allegations that the police are shielding the high-profile accused.
Even if persons named in an FIR, even for heinous offences, are not immediately arrested, the fact that the police appeared not to have shown any interest in even questioning the minister’s son had raised eyebrows.
The police pasted a notice outside the Union minister’s home, summoning his son for questioning at 10 am on Friday, the report added.
An eight-member UP Police team will investigate the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
Lakshmi Singh, the Inspector General of Lucknow Zone, told NDTV: “Summons have been issued to Ashish Mishra and he has been asked to come for questioning soon as possible and more action against him will follow.” The move came after the Supreme Court on Thursday heard the matter and asked the state government to file a status report on investigations and action taken.
Sources told that the Union minister will likely not be asked to resign, and instead will “cooperate with the investigation”. So far, the minister and his son have both maintained that Ashish was not present at the site of the violence.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has found itself in a complicated situation with this incident, given the alleged direct involvement of a Union minister’s son and the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The Opposition as well as protesting farmers have made clear how seriously they take what happened.