A second charge sheet has been issued in the Lakhimpur Kheri case, in which an SUV driven by the son of a Union Minister crashed into a gathering of demonstrators last year. While the first charge sheet implicated Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, for running over four farmers and a journalist, the second focuses on the subsequent rioting. Two BJP activists and the SUV’s driver were killed.
The police detained seven farmers during their investigation into this crime; however, it is unclear if all of them have been charged with murder.
The second police case was launched in response to a complaint against unidentified farmers by Sumit Jaiswal, a local BJP worker, accusing them of encouraging the violence.
Sumit Jaiswal was seen escaping from one of the SUVs that hit the farmers in cellphone videos that went viral. Later, he was detained as a co-accused in the case named Ashish Mishra, the son of Junior Home Minister Ajay Mishra.
Ashish Mishra and 12 others have been detained and face murder and conspiracy accusations.
Earlier this month, the Special Investigation Team investigating the Lakhimpur Kheri tragedy filed a 5,000-page charge sheet against 14 persons in a local court, alleging that Ashish Mishra was present at the scene at the time of the occurrence.
The charge sheet claims that, contrary to what the minister and his son said, Ashish Mishra was inside one of the SUVs engaged in the attack on protesting farmers and the journalist.
The Special Investigation Team informed the court that the farmers’ and journalists’ deaths were the results of a “planned conspiracy” with the aim to murder rather than a case of death by carelessness.
Congress has accused the BJP-led government of shielding the minister and his son, although he has yet to quit.
On October 3, eight people were murdered during a farmers’ protest in Lakhimpur Kheri, including four farmers and a journalist. A high-speed SUV, reportedly driven by Ashish Mishra, slammed the demonstrators from behind. Soon after, violence erupted, killing three more people, two of whom were BJP workers.