Ajay Mishra should be removed: Cong delegation to Prez

Lakhimpur violence: Congress delegation meets President, demands sacking of MoS Ajay Mishra

The delegation of senior Congress leaders also presented a memorandum of facts about the Lakhimpur Kheri incident to the President

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTI Photo

A Congress delegation led by former party president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday met President Ram Nath Kovind demanding immediate dismissal of  Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra and a judicial probe by two sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India or the High Court in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident that has "scarred the soul of India".

Contending that the killing of farmers on October 3 was a "deliberate act of murder in broad daylight", the delegation told the President that the "audacious reactions" of the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government following the incident has "completely eroded the people's faith" in those tasked with bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Arguing for his sacking, the leaders said the Minister's role in the murder is yet to be probed and no fair probe will happen when he is in office. Also, they said police would not dare to fairly investigate the son when the father is occupying a position of "such high influence and who enjoys continued endorsements" from both the central and state governments.

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Rahul was accompanied by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress Working Committee members AK Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi. They also submitted a memorandum to the President.

"We have told the President that there cannot be an impartial inquiry and justice cannot be given till the time the Minister is dismissed. This is the voice of not just the families of those killed but of all the farmers in the country and this voice is being suppressed," Rahul told reporters after the meeting. Priyanka said the President has assured them that he would talk to the government in this regard "today itself".

In their memorandum, the leaders said the Narendra Modi government has "refused to relent or have a meaningful conversation" with the farmers who are protesting against three contentious farm laws and the government's policy appeared to be "tire and retire the Annadatas, a strategy doomed to failure".

Providing the sequence of events, the memorandum said that Mishra had threatened the farmers during a public function on September 27 and had "even boasted about his dubious antecedents". Rahul said the Minister threatened and action on that threat was taken on October 3 when his son Ashish allegedly mowed down farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri.

"How can justice be done when the original provocation came from the Minister of State for Home himself?... It was one of the most gruesome and premeditated acts of bone-chilling murder ever seen and caught on camera. Multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed that the Minister’s son, Ashish Misra was in the vehicle," memorandum said.

The leaders claimed that the UP government "flatly refused" to register an FIR "as has become the norm". Ashish was taken into custody after Rahul and Priyanka visited the families.

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The memorandum also referred to a murder case against the minister in which the appeal has been pending in Allahabad High Court since 2004. "What is even more shocking and unbelievable is that the High Court had reserved judgement in the Criminal Appeal on March 12th, 2018 but hasn’t delivered the verdict till date. Three years and seven months have passed since. Justice has been delayed to the point where it has effectively been denied," it said.

"Despite this context of criminality and abuse of power, Ajay Mishra Teni continues in office... Given that BJP leaders, including UP Chief Minister Shri Adityanath, continue to make conciliatory statements towards him suggests this situation is unlikely to change without intervention. Mishra’s role is also yet to be investigated and the same is unlikely while he continues in office," it said.

"Furthermore, which police official would dare to fairly investigate the son of Union MoS Home Affairs with the father occupying a position of such high influence and who enjoys continued endorsements from both the central and the state governments," it added. 

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