The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, on Monday, wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding the dismissal and arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra in connection with the Lakhimpur violence, and formation of an SIT under the Supreme Court’s supervision to probe the incident.
The umbrella body of farmer unions, spearheading the agitation against the Centre’s three agri laws, noted that “conflict of interest is a key obstruction to justice” in the Lakhimpur Kheri farmers’ massacre and alleged that the accused were receiving VIP treatment in custody.
“Union Minister of State for Home Mr Ajay Mishra should be immediately dismissed from his post. Mr Ajay Mishra should also be arrested immediately for his role in the murder (criminal conspiracy under Sec.120B in addition to other charges as described above)….We also continue to demand that the investigation of this incident should be done by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court,” the SKM said in the letter.
Four of the eight people who died in the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 were farmers, allegedly knocked down by a vehicle carrying BJP workers. Angry farmers then allegedly lynched some people in the vehicles.
Farmers have claimed that Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish was in one of the vehicles, an allegation denied by him and his father who say they can produce evidence to prove he was at an event at that time. Ashish Mishra was arrested in the case on October 9.
The SKM alleged that the accused were receiving VIP treatment in custody and witness statements were not getting recorded at the pace expected by the Supreme Court.
“It is very obvious that conflict of interest is a key obstruction to justice in the Lakhimpur Kheri farmers’ massacre, and any decent government would have, in terms of principles of natural justice, sacked and arrested Mr Ajay Mishra by now,” it said in the letter.
Farmers have been camping at Delhi borders to demand that the three agri laws be rolled back.
The Parliament passed three agriculture acts — Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 — during its monsoon session culminating on September 23, 2020.
The contentious bills, which received the President’s sign off on September 27, 2020, were passed amid an uproar by opposition party leaders and farmer groups alike.
Farmers from different parts of the country have been camping at the Delhi borders since November 26 last year, demanding the repeal of the three central farm laws.
While the farmers have been expressing fear that the laws would do away with the Minimum Support Price system, leaving them at the mercy of the corporations, the government has been projecting them as major agricultural ‘reforms’.
The Supreme Court had in January suspended the implementation of the laws.
With the last meeting between the farmers and the government held on January 22, 2021, 11 rounds of talks between the two parties have failed to break the deadlock.