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Lakhimpur Violence: Forensic Report Says Weapon Seized From MoS Ajay Mishra’s son was Fired

The forensic finding backs the farmers' claims that Ashish Mishra had opened fire on them while his vehicle mowed down the victims. However, no victim had sustained a gunshot.
Lakhimpur Violnece

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Giving thrust to the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, the forensic examination of a rifle recovered from Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, has established that the weapon had been fired, according to media reports. The forensic findings will now be submitted as evidence in the case.

While informing about the forensic report, the police also said it was unclear whether the rifle was fired on the day the incident happened or another day, the Indian Express reported.

Ashish Mishra is one of the 13 accused facing charges for killing four farmers and a journalist amid a farmers' protest in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3. All the victims were run over and killed by a convoy of three vehicles, including a Mahindra Thar SUV belonging to Union minister Mishra.

Farmers present at the place of the incident had alleged that Ashish Mishra had opened fire.

However, neither the five victims nor the three others killed in subsequent violence on that fateful day sustained gunshot injury.

A rifle belonging to Ashish Mishra alias Monu Mishra, had been seized by the SIT following the Lakhimpur violence. A pistol owned by Ankit Das, nephew of former Union minister Akhilesh Das, and a repeater gun, carried by Das' bodyguard Lateef Kale, were also among the recovered weapons. All three guns had been discharged, the Forensic Science Laboratory's (FSL) report claimed. A forensic report of a fourth weapon, a revolver owned by Das' aide Satya Prakash, is awaited.

The special investigation team (SIT) probing the case has not yet issued an official statement on the FSL report. However, a senior police officer told the Indian Express that the report would be submitted as evidence.

The officer further added that while the accused will now have to prove that they did not fire the weapons on October 3. The FSL finding has thus backed up the farmers' claims.

According to the FIR registered on a complaint by Jagjit Singh, a native of Bahraich district, the violent incident was "premeditated", and a "conspiracy was hatched" to execute the same by the minister and his son.

The FIR stated that the farmers had gathered at the sports ground of the Maharaja Agrasen Inter-College on October 3 and they wanted to peacefully show black flags to Ashish Mishra and Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who were visiting Banbirpur. Around 3 pm, Ashish Mishra, flanked by 15-20 armed men, reached the protest spot in Banbirpur in three speeding four-wheelers. Ashish Mishra, who was seated on the left side of a Mahindra Thar, allegedly opened gunfire while his car mowed down the five victims and sped ahead, according to the FIR.

However, two consecutive autopsies conducted on Gurvinder Singh, one of the farmers who died in the incident, had ruled out bullet injuries, the PTI reported.

Ashish Mishra and his 15-20 associates were charged with murder, criminal conspiracy, rash driving, and rioting, among others. The FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 147, 148, 149 (all three related to rioting), 279 (rash driving), 338 (causes grievous hurt to any person by doing any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life), 304A (causing death by negligence), 302 (murder), and 120B (party to a criminal conspiracy).

The police have so far arrested 13 of the accused, including Ashish Mishra.

However, Ajay Mishra had refuted the allegations that his son was involved in the incident near his native Banbirpur village.

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