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BJP sweeps Lakhimpur despite outrage

Ashish Mishra, who had been arrested, was released on bail recently, but Lakhimpur, apparently, put the incident behind and voted on all seats for the BJP….reports Asian Lite News

 Gorakhpur, Lakhimpur and Agra were termed as trouble spots for the BJP, but the results of the Assembly elections out on Thursday clearly indicate that for the people, the incidents in these cities did not affect their decision to vote for the saffron party.

Gorakhpur hit the headlines last year when Manish Gupta, a businessman from Kanpur, died, allegedly after being beaten up by the police during a raid in his hotel.

The opposition was quick to use the incident as an example of ‘law-and-order’ situation in the state.

However, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath promptly handed over the case to the CBI and gave compensation and a job to Gupta’s widow. The matter died a natural death, and Gorakhpur has now given a clean sweep to the BJP with Adityanath winning his first Assembly election with an appreciable margin.

The Lakhimpur incident in October last year, when an SUV, owned by Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra, mowed down four farmers who were returning from a protest.

The incident provided fuel for the farmers’ agitation as opposition parties rushed in to cash in on the bereavement of the families.

Ashish Mishra, who had been arrested, was released on bail recently, but Lakhimpur, apparently, put the incident behind and voted on all seats for the BJP.

In Agra, the death of a Dalit youth — Arun Valmiki — in police custody also became fodder for opposition politics, but now that the BJP has won all the seats in Agra, the incident is on the backburner.

“The manner in which the Yogi Adityanath government handled the action in these incidents became more important. The accused were arrested, the victims were given compensation an investigation continued without any pressure. People understood that the government did not wish to hide anything when it came to dealing with culprits,” said Vijay Pathak, state Vice-President of the BJP.

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Ashish Misra sent to three days police remand

The hearing in Ashish Misra’s remand case concluded with his lawyer denying all the allegations levelled against his client by the Uttar Pradesh Police…reports Asian Lite News.

A local court in Lakhimpur Kheri on Monday sent Ashish Misra, son of Union Minister Ajay Misra Teni, to three days police custody in connection with the October 3 violence.

He will, however, have access to his legal team during the period of police remand.

The Special Investigation Team, set up by the Yogi Adityanath government to probe the incident, had sought 14 days police remand of Ashish Misra from the Chief Judicial Magistrate in order to carry out further investigations and recreate the crime scene.

The public prosecutor said the custody can be demanded within 15 days of the arrest. “It was pure non-cooperation. During the 12 hours, he did not reply,” the public prosecutor said.

Misra’s counsel Avadesh Singh said, “They interrogated him for 12 hours. How much do they need to interrogate? Do they want to apply third degree on the accused? You can’t beat him and take his statement… They have not given any reason why they need remand.”

The hearing in Ashish Misra’s remand case concluded with his lawyer denying all the allegations levelled against his client by the Uttar Pradesh Police.

Some technical issues in video conferencing were reported when the court was to start the hearing in the case. The judge left the court room as there was a delay in connecting the video.

Misra was arrested late on Saturday night and produced the same night before a magistrate who sent him to judicial custody.

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Rahul, Priyanka meet bereaved families in Lakhimpur Kheri

The entire route from Sitapur to Lakhimpur Kheri was heavily barricaded. The Lakhimpur district administration allowed only seven vehicles in the convoy to enter the district…reports Asian Lite News.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday finally managed to meet the families of the farmers who were killed in Sunday’s violence at Tikunia village in Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh.

Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and other leaders met the family of deceased farmer Lovepreet at the Chaukhada farm in Palia at around 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

They later met the family of journalist Raman Kashyap, who was also killed in violence.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda accompanied the Gandhi siblings during their meetings with the farmers’ families.

The entire route from Sitapur to Lakhimpur Kheri was heavily barricaded. The Lakhimpur district administration allowed only seven vehicles in the convoy to enter the district.

Former Rajasthan Deputy CM Sachin Pilot and Congress leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam, however, were not so lucky as they were detained in Moradabad while they were on their way to Lakhimpur by car.

Earlier in the day, AAP MP Sanjay Singh also went to Lakhimpur to meet the bereaved families.

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav and BSP General Secretary Satish Chandra Mishra will be visiting Lakhimpur on Thursday.

UP appoints judicial panel

The Uttar Pradesh government has deputed Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court, to probe the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence in which nine persons lost their lives.

The judicial commission will have its office in Lakhimpur Kheri and it is required to submit its report within two months.

On October 4, the state government had announced that it would appoint a retired high court judge to ensure an impartial probe into the violence in which Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish is an accused.

MVA calls for bandh on Oct 11

In a significant development, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress have called for ‘Maharashtra Bandh’ on Monday (October 11) to protest against the killing of eight persons, including four farmers, in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh on October 3.

In another rare gesture, the state Cabinet, presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, observed two minutes’ silence and passed a unanimous resolution condoling the farmers’ deaths, expressing its anguish over the incident.

The MVA strongly condemned the Lakhimpur Kheri development and accused the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh for the “oppression and misuse of power”, and expressed the state government’s support for the farmers’ agitation.

Senior MVA ministers like Eknath Shinde (SS), Jayant Patil (NCP) and Balasaheb Thorat (Congress) briefed the media on the proposed ‘Maharashtra Bandh’, and said that all essential services will be kept out of its purview.

Earlier, NCP President Sharad Pawar had warned that the BJP would have to pay “a heavy price” for the brutal attack on farmers, and reiterated that the country’s entire opposition is with the peasantry.

“The responsibility for this lies with the BJP governments at the Centre and in UP. A similar situation was created in Jallianwala Bagh, we are witnessing the same scenario in UP now. The people will show them their place,” said Pawar.

Calling for united action by the three allies, Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that the “Lakhimpur Kheri violence has shaken the nation”.

He said a senior Congress leader has been illegally arrested by the UP government and other opposition leaders are barred from meeting the farmers or their families.

Flaying the BJP for the farmers’ deaths, Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole said that the UP and Central governments are “scared” of the Gandhi siblings.

He demanded the dismissal of the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in UP for the deaths of eight persons, including four farmers.

Video shows minister’s vehicle mowing down farmers

Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s claim that his vehicle was attacked by miscreants before the driver lost control and mowed down farmers, stands “exposed” after a cleaner, longer clip of the viral video from Lakhimpur Kheri reveals what happened on Sunday before the violent clashes.

The viral video clip shows a black SUV – which belongs to the union minister according to his own admission – ploughing into an unarmed group of protesters at great speed.

There are no signs of any attack on the Mahindra Thar vehicle. It shows no stones or sticks being thrown at the car or that the driver lost control resulting in the death of at least four farmers and injuries to many more.

In this video, the driver seems to holding on to the steering wheel firmly and driving at great speed into a group of farmers marching in front of the SUV, with their backs to it.

According to witnesses, it was after this incident, that an enraged mob attacked the cars, set them on fire and four people in the convoy were beaten to death.

A lower resolution, slowed-down version of the same video was earlier shared by a series of opposition leaders as proof that the blame for the Sunday’s clashes lay on the convoy of minister’s aides and BJP workers.

It may be recalled that farmers had gathered to protest against the visit of union home affairs minister Ajay Mishra and the state’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya at a wrestling match.

Farmer groups have been claiming that Mishra’s son had been in a car when the vehicle ran over four protesters, killing them. He has denied this charge.

The new video emerged on a day when the Supreme Court announced it was taking up the case as media reports and a letter from two lawyers to Chief Justice N.V. Ramana cast doubts on the Uttar Pradesh police investigation into the incident.

Four days after a murder case was filed against him, the minister’s son Ashish Mishra is yet to be arrested and government sources have ruled out the minister Ajay Mishra’s resignation, following a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday.

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FIR nails Union minister’s son for Lakhimpur Kheri deaths

The FIR also alleges that the vehicle of the BJP MP’s son overturned on the side of the road and this caused injuries to several other people present on the side of the road and thereafter Mishra opened fire, escaped from his car, and hid in the nearby sugarcane field…reports Asian Lite News.

The FIR lodged against Ashish Mishra Monu, the son of Union Minister of State for Home, Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’, in connection with the recent violent incident in Lakhimpur Kheri, in which a total of 8 people were killed, accuses the minister’s son of serious charges.

As per the FIR, four of the victims were mowed down by a vehicle allegedly being driven by Ashish Mishra.

The FIR has been filed under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 302 for murder, 304-A for causing death due to reckless driving, 120-B for criminal conspiracy, 147 for rioting, 279 for rash driving, 338 for causing grievous injuries to any person by doing any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life, along with other sections at the Tikunia police station.

The FIR states that the whole incident was ‘premeditated’ and that the entire ‘conspiracy was hatched by the BJP minister and his son’, who committed the act in a display of ‘hooliganism’. The FIR also mentions 15-20 unnamed persons as accused.

The FIR further read, “The incident took place at around 3 pm when Mishra, along with 15-20 others, who were armed with weapons, came to the protest site in Banbirpur in 3 speeding four-wheelers. Monu Mishra, who was sitting on the left side of his Mahindra Thar vehicle, opened gunfire, mowed down the crowd and went ahead. The firing led to the death of farmer Gurvinder Singh, son of Sukhwinder, a resident of Matronia in Nanpara.”

The FIR also alleges that the vehicle of the BJP MP’s son overturned on the side of the road and this caused injuries to several other people present on the side of the road and thereafter Mishra opened fire, escaped from his car, and hid in the nearby sugarcane field.

The FIR also states that a video has already gone viral on social media, in which the BJP minister could be allegedly seen warning protesters who were opposing the Centre’s three farm laws. In the video, he allegedly asked the protesters to mend their ways.

On October 3, several farmers were holding protests against the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to Lakhimpur Kheri, when four protesting farmers were killed after they were mowed down by an SUV.

Allegedly, the SUV was part of the convoy of Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni.

According to legal experts, the FIR has been lodged under the stringent sections of the Indian Penal Code, demanding immediate arrest of the accused. The sections levelled against Ashish Mishra are non-bailable.

The Lakhimpur police, however, have claimed that they were ‘busy’ with the cremations of the bodies of the farmers due to which they did not find time for investigation.

Rahul to visit UP along with Punjab & Chhattisgarh CMs

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he will visit Lucknow and Lakhimpur Kheri along with Chief Ministers of Punjab and Chhattisgarh despite being denied permission by the administration.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday here, Rahul Gandhi said, “Section 144 is not imposed for three people and only three persons will go to meet the bereaved families.”

He said Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi will accompany him to Lucknow and then they will proceed to Lakhimpur Kheri.

Rahul said, “When other political parties are being allowed to go to Lakhimpur Kheri, why the Congress delegation will not be allowed.”

On questions about Priyanka’s detention, he said, “We are trained to raise peoples’ issues and we are not going to deter even on being manhandled.”

The Congress leader alleged that the farmers were being attacked by the government.

The Uttar Pradesh government, late on Tuesday night, denied permission to a Congress delegation led by Rahul Gandhi to visit Lakhimpur Kheri as Section 144 was enforced there after Sunday’s violence.

Earlier, Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal had sought permission for the Rahul-led delegation.

In a letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the Congress said a five-member delegation led by Rahul Gandhi planned to visit the district.

Party sources said that Rahul would also meet sister Priyanka, who has been kept at the PAC guest house in Sitapur since Monday.

She was formally arrested on Tuesday evening and the guest house has been notified as a temporary jail.

Internet services shut in Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur

Internet services were shut down in Lakhimpur Kheri and Sitapur on Wednesday, following reports that some Congress leaders were on their way to meet party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and also the families of the victims.

Though there was no official communication of the shutdown of services, a senior official said that this had been done as a precautionary measure.

“We will thwart all attempts to create tension in the area. The shutdown may be lifted by evening if no untoward incident takes place,” he said.

It is noteworthy that Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to come to Lucknow and then Sitapur to meet Priyanka. However, the state administration has denied him the permission.

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Priyanka held, leaders under house arrest as toll in Lakhimpur Kheri reaches 8

The death toll in Sunday’s violence has gone up to eight and the BJP claimed that the deceased included one driver and three BJP workers…reports Asian Lite News.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been arrested from Hargaon in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district while she was on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri where violence had claimed eight lives on Sunday.

Other opposition leaders are also being stopped from proceeding towards Lakhimpur Kheri after Sunday’s incident, where the death toll has gone up to eight.

Priyanka Gandhi’s convoy was stopped in Lucknow and the police surrounded the Kaul House where she stays during her Lucknow visits.

However, Priyanka managed to hoodwink the cops and walked out of her residence form the side gate and after a short distance, she got into a waiting car and left for Lakhimpur Kheri with Congress leader Deependra Singh Hooda at the wheel.

As soon as Priyanka reached Hargaon in Sitapur district around 6.a.m on Monday, she was stopped. After a minor scuffle with women constable, Priyanka demanded to see her arrest warrant. The police personnel took her into custody and she was taken to the PAC office in the district.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “I am not committing a crime by stepping out of the house. I just want to meet the affected families and share their grief. What wrong am I committing? And if I have done something wrong, then you (UP Police) should have an order, a warrant. You (UP Police) are stopping me, my car, but for what reason?”

Congress leaders who were accompanying Priyanka created a ruckus and staged a dharna to protest against her arrest.

UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu said that the arrest of Priyanka proved again that there was no democracy left in the political system.

“We are well within out rights to protest and we are not going to be cowed down by such repressive measures,” he said.

The death toll in Sunday’s violence has gone up to eight and the BJP claimed that the deceased included one driver and three BJP workers.

Bahujan Samaj Party MP Satish Chandra Mishra was not allowed to move out of his house in Lucknow at 3 a.m. when he tried to move towards Lakhimpur Kheri. Mishra demanded a written order which prevents him from moving out of his house.

The BSP general secretary, said, “We want to visit Lakhimpur Kheri. We are not being allowed to move citing law and order disturbance there. We demand written order if they want to house arrest us.”

The Uttar Pradesh police tweeted that the situation in Lakhimpur Kheri was under control and adequate deployment of forces had been done to prevent any ‘untoward incident’.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said in a statement issued late on Sunday night that he was ‘saddened’ by the violence in his state that left eight people, including four farmers, dead.

He promised strict action against those responsible following an investigation and made an appeal to maintain peace.

BKU leader Rakesh Tikait’s convoy was also stopped on its way to Lakhimpur Kheri. He had reached Puranpur in Pilibhit district.

Tikait said that he will hold a press conference later in the day.

He said BKU would stage demonstrations at all district headquarters on Monday to protest against the Sunday’s incidents.

Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Ravan’s convoy was stopped near Khairabad in Sitapur. He has been detained at Sitapur police line.

Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh was stopped in Sitapur on his way to Lakhimpur Kheri on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday. He was stopped during checking of vehicles in Laharpur area of the district.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary and former minister, Om Prakash Rajbhar, are scheduled to leave for Lakhimpur Kheri on Monday. A heavy police force has been deployed outside their respective residences.

A senior police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “We are not going to allow any political leader to go to Lakhimpur Kheri and worsen the situation. We are trying our best to defuse tension and normalize the situation. We cannot allow some leaders to derive political mileage at the cost of the situation.”

In another major development, union minister of state for home, Ajay Mishra Teni, whose earlier statement apparently triggered off trouble on Sunday, said that his son Ashish Mishra Monu was not present at the site where the violence took place.

The farmers had alleged that Monu had mowed down farmers while driving his SUV.

The police have taken Ashish Mishra to a safe house to ensure his safety and security.

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