BJP Leader Among 4 More Held in Lakhimpur Kheri Case

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Lakhimpur Kheri violence. — IANS

Local BJP leader Sumit Jaiswal was seen in the video running from the Thar SUV that drove into protesters from behind

LAKHIMPUR KHERI — Four more persons, including a BJP leader who was seen inside the SUV that mowed down protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3, have been arrested.

A statement released by Prashant Kumar, ADG (law and order) late on Monday night, said: “The accused Sumit Jaiswal, Shishupal, Nandan Singh Bisht and Satya Prakash Tripathi have been arrested by Lakhimpur Kheri Police and SWAT team of Crime branch. Licensed revolver and three bullets were recovered from Satya Prakash Tripathi and seized.”

Local BJP leader Sumit Jaiswal, who was seen in a viral video escaping from the lead SUV in the convoy of vehicles that crushed the farmers, had earlier filed a murder FIR against unnamed farmers, claiming that his driver, friend and two BJP workers were beaten to death after their vehicles lost control due to heavy stone pelting and accidentally hit farmers

In a video that went viral, purportedly from the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, Jaiswal, in a blue kurta, was seen coming out of the Thar, the SUV that ran farmers over.

Special prosecution officer S.P. Yadav said the four accused will be produced in front of a remand magistrate on Tuesday since the regular court will be closed on account of a holiday. “SIT is questioning the accused and may seek remand custody if needed,” he said.

It may be recalled that four farmers and a journalist were run over on October 3 by a convoy of three vehicles, one of which belongs to Union Minister of state for home, Ajay Mishra Teni.

Mishra’s son Ashish was arrested on October 9, five days after he was named in the FIR related to the incident on charges of murder.

The families of farmers who died in the incident, had alleged in their complaint to the police that Ashish was inside the lead SUV that crushed the farmers .

An FIR was lodged at the Tikunia police station on October 3 over the episode. Later, a counter-FIR was lodged at the same police station on the basis of a complaint by Sumit Jaiswal, who has now been arrested.

Sumit Jaiswal had also claimed that the protesters attacked Ashish Mishra’s convoy, not the other way round. He also claimed the car was not moving, and it was the protesters that attacked the convoy.

“We were at the programme venue. There was an atmosphere of fear. They were armed with sticks and rocks and they kept attacking us, abusing us. They also shouted ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ and they climbed the car,” he said.

Ashish Mishra has also denied the charge that he was at the crime scene when the murders took place. He stated that he was in his paternal village, around two km away, and stayed there all day.

SIT begins questioning farmers

Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, has started zeroing in on local farmers.

Over 50 farmers have been summoned by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with an FIR on the alleged lynching of three BJP workers during the violence that broke out in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3.

Fifteen farmers appeared before the SIT on Monday to record their statements in the alleged lynching case after notices were issued to them under sections of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

An SIT official said, “We have been investigating both the FIRs and the farmers were summoned in connection to the second FIR.”

Every farmer was questioned for over 15 minutes in the presence of their advocate Mohammed Amaan, sources said.

Jasbir Singh Virk, president of Bhartiya Sikh Sangathan told reporters that of the 15 farmers who appeared before the SIT, only 11 recorded their statement.

“The SIT asked questions related to the incident and the same statement was recorded for both the FIRs. They were asked questions such as how did they realise they were in danger and what did they do after farmers were mowed down. We have told the SIT members that farmers will cooperate with them,” he said.

The SIT, on Monday, had also arrested four aides of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Misra’s son Ashish. The accused include Sumit Jaiswal, who got the cross FIR lodged against the farmers. He had been absconding after their convoy allegedly mowed down four farmers and a journalist.

A total of 10 arrests have been made by the SIT in the case. —  IANS

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