'Minister is a criminal': Rahul Gandhi demands Ajay Mishra's sacking
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday renewed his attack on Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra while speaking in the Lok Sabha. He demanded the Union Minister's sacking over his son Ashish Mishra's alleged involvement in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. Accusing Mishra of being "involved" in the violence, Gandhi said, "The Minister must resign. He is a criminal." Here are more details.
Why does it matter?
- The fresh attack against Mishra was triggered after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Uttar Pradesh Police called the Lakhimpur Kheri violence a "planned conspiracy."
- Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the violence in October.
- Ashish Mishra is the main accused in the case.
- In a court filing on Tuesday, the SIT demanded the accused be charged with "attempt to murder."
We should be allowed to speak about the murder: Gandhi
"We should be allowed to speak about the murder that was committed in Lakhimpur Kheri...Where there was an involvement of the Minister and about which it has been said that it was a conspiracy," news agency ANI quoted Gandhi as saying inside the Parliament.
Both Houses adjourned amid Opposition's protest
Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned until Friday after several Opposition MPs demanded a discussion on the SIT report. The Houses also witnessed protests by Opposition members who held placards reading "Justice for Lakhimpur victims" and "Sack MoS Home." In the Rajya Sabha, protests intensified after Chairman Venkaiah Naidu stopped Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge from speaking.
What is the government's take on the issue?
Meanwhile, Union Parliamentary Minister Pralhad Joshi told NDTV that the government is unwilling to discuss the Lakhimpur Kheri incident as the matter is under investigation. "A Supreme Court-monitored investigation is going on...The matter is sub judice," he said. He appealed to the Opposition to discuss other issues such as COVID-19. "If we have made mistakes, then give us constructive suggestions," he added.
Priyanka echoes Rahul's demand
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra echoed what Rahul Gandhi demanded. She said the government's refusal to sack Mishra is "the starkest indication of its moral bankruptcy." "Narendra Modi ji, carefully curated spectacles of piety and wearing religious attire will not change the fact that you are protecting a criminal," she said adding that Mishra should be charged in accordance with the law.
Calls for Mishra's resignation grow
Several other Opposition leaders also demanded Mishra's removal. "I think he should resign...PM should take his resignation. Only then will the House be quiet. People will also feel the PM is taking democracy forward (sic)," National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah told NDTV. Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav raised the same demand citing the SIT report.
What happened in Lakhimpur Kheri?
Four farmers died in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 after Mishra's convoy mowed down a group of protesters. Four others were killed in the ensuing clashes. The farmers alleged that Mishra's son, Ashish Mishra, was driving the vehicle that ran over the protesters. Notably, Ashish was arrested on October 9 and has been behind bars since then.