Vid adds heat, Shah summons junior

Express News Service

LUCKNOW:  Amid mounting outrage over the failure to arrest the son of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra over the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, a video clip purportedly showing a black SUV mowing down protesting farmers in that village on Sunday, which led to the death of eight persons, including four farmers, added fuel to the fire.

The 29-second clip led to Union home minister Amit Shah summoning Mishra to Delhi, highly placed sources said. Mishra is also expected to brief senior leaders of the Sangh Parivar, highly placed sources said.For his part, Mishra claimed he would resign if there was any evidence establishing his son Ashish’s presence at the spot of violence. He said the driver lost control of the SUV and ran over the farmers as the protesters had stoned the vehicle.

Ashish has been named in an FIR following a police complaint by the farmers. The FIR says: “Ashish Mishra alias Monu, accompanied by his 15-20 aides with loaded weapons and riding 3-4 four wheelers, came rushing to Tikunia in Kheri where the farmers had gathered. Ashish was sitting on the left seat in his Thar Mahindra, which ran over the farmers trampling them while he (Ashish) fired with his weapon. Farmer Gurvinder Singh (22) received a bullet shot and died on the spot.” The mowing down mentioned in the FIR matches the sequence of events seen in the video clip.

Tweeting the video, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Lucknow on Tuesday, why Ashish was out of the police net while she was in custody illegally without any arrest warrant.

Later, Priyanka and 10 other Congress leaders were officially arrested by the police in Sitapur, where she was detained on Monday morning. The arrests were to “prevent the commission of cognizable offences”, police said. Priyanka spoke to the bereaved farmer families on phone.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is expected to lead a five-member delegation to Lakhimpur Kheri on Wednesday. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel reached Lucknow airport to join Priyanka, but was not allowed to leave. 

Can be freed on personal bondAs per sources, the Congress leaders could now be released on personal bonds. Priyanka may not necessarily be presented before a court for release. Under certain CrPC sections, hearing can be done by the magistrate at any place if need be