Court frames charges against Ashish Mishra, 12 others in murder of Lakhimpur Kheri farmers

It is alleged that he was in an SUV that ran over four farmers and a journalist during a protest march in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 last year.
Ashish Mishra, the key suspect in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. (File Photo | PTI)
Ashish Mishra, the key suspect in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. (File Photo | PTI)

LAKHIMPUR KHERI: A court here on Tuesday framed charges against Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra's son Ashish and 12 others for murder, criminal conspiracy and related offences in the case of mowing down of protesting farmers in October 2021 in Lakhimpur Kheri, paving the way for the start of the trial.

Ashish Mishra is the main accused in the case as four farmers were trampled allegedly by his SUV - Thar Mahendra - while they were protesting against the visit of Deputy CM Keshav Maurya in the wake of three contentious farm laws which the Union government scrapped later. Maurya was on a visit to Kheri to participate in an event organised by Teni.

According to District Government Counsel (DGC) (criminal), Arvind Tripathi, ADJ-I Sunil Kumar Verma framed charges against all the 14 accused in FIR number 219 lodged in connection with the Tikunia violence case. All of them, barring one Virendra Shukla, who is out on bail, were produced in court on Tuesday through video conferencing and the charges against them were communicated.

The court fixed December 16 as the next date for the prosecution to produce the evidences against the accused in the trial, said the DGC.

As per the DGC, the charges against 13 accused persons including Ashish Mishra, Ankit Das, Nandan Singh Bisht, Satya Prakash Tripathi, Latif alias Kale, Shekhar Bharti, Sumit Jaiswal, Ashish Pandey, Lavkush Rana, Shishu Pal, Ullhas Kumar alias Mohit Trivedi, Rinku Rana and Dharmendra Banjara, were framed under Sections 147 (for rioting), 148 (for rioting armed with deadly weapons), 149 (for offence committed in the persecution of common object), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons), 302 (murder), 427 (mischief causing damage), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC as well as Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

The DGC claimed that the court also framed charges under Section 30 (violation of conditions of arms license or arms rules) of the Arms Act against Ashish Mishra, Ankit Das, Satya Prakash Tripathi and Latif alias Kale, Section 5/27 of the Arms Act against Nandan Singh Bisht and Section 3/25 of the Arms Act against Sumit Jaiswal. Charges under Section 201 (for causing disappearance of evidences) of the IPC were framed against the 14th accused Virendra Shukla, who is out on bail, added the DGC.

It may be recalled that while a local scribe had died after being caught in the cacophony of protesting farmers’ death, three BJP workers including Mishra’s driver were lynched by the angry mob of farmers who had gathered at Tikunia park from various states including Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.

During the UP Assembly election 2022, Ashish Mishra was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court and he came out of Lakhimpur district jail on February 15, 2022. The High Court order was challenged in the Supreme Court which cancelled Mishra’s bail on April 18 and asked him to surrender in Lakhimpur court within a week. The apex court even sent the matter back to Allahabad High Cout asking it to re-consider it afresh on the basis of evidence against Mishra.

On April 24, Ashish Mishra surrendered and he was sent to jail under 14-day judicial custody. However, since the day of the incident, the opposition and the farmers had been demanding the Union government sack Ajay Mishra Teni owing to the complicity of his son in the violence. However, the centre has yet to take an action against the MoS.

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