Four more people, including a BJP leader who was seen inside the SUV that mowed down protesting farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri, were arrested yesterday.
“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,” a statement released by senior police official Prashant Kumar said .
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 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 the viral video, Mr Jaiswal was seen running from the Thar SUV that drove into protesters from behind.
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. Mr Mishra’s son Ashish was arrested on October 9, five days after he was named in the murder related to the incident on charges which usually merit immediate arrest. The families of farmers who died alleged in their complaint to the police that Ashish was inside the lead SUV that crushed the farmers. His arrest followed 12 hours of police questioning which in turn came after an intervention by the Supreme Court.
An FIR was lodged at the Tikonia 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,” he said. They also shouted “Khalistan Zindabad. They climbed the car,” he said.
Ashish Mishra has denied the charge that he was at the crime scene when the murders took place; he has claimed he was in his paternal village (around two km away) and stayed there all day.