Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son Ashish Mishra is accused of killing protesting farmers at Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri last year, shouldn’t have made threatening remarks to farmers days before the incident, the High Court said today, rejecting bail to four other accused in the case.
The Allahabad High Court referred to a charge sheet file by the Special Investigation Team of the Uttar Pradesh Police that said the killings would not have taken place if Ajay Mishra, a Minister of State for Home in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, had not allegedly threatened farmers.
Ashish Mishra is accused of running over four farmers and a journalist during a protest against farm laws at Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3. Three more were killed in the violence that erupted after the killings.
Less than an hour before the incident, Ashish Mishra was allegedly part of his father’s convoy, which was headed to a wrestling event attended by UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. Farmers had shown black flags to this convoy as it passed them.
Days before the Lakhimpur incident, Ajay Mishra had, in a speech in the area, allegedly threatened to “fix farmers in two minutes” if they didn’t drop their agitation.
The High Court said: “Political persons should make public utterances in decent language. They are required to conduct themselves befitting status and dignity of office. Law makers cannot be seen as law violators.”
The court also commented sharply on the Deputy Chief Minister, who chose to attend the event in the area despite restrictions ordered because of the farmer protest.
“We cannot believe the Deputy Chief Minister would not have known about prohibitory orders in area. Yet he chose to be Chief Guest in a wrestling competition in the area,” said the court.
Ashish Mishra, who is the main accused, recently returned to jail after his bail was cancelled by the Supreme Court. The Allahabad High Court, which had granted him bail on February 10, today said the accused were influential and could tamper with evidence.
“The main accused and co-accused are from very influential families. They can tamper with evidence,” the High Court said.