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MoS Ajay Mishra calls journalists crooks, ‘pushes’ reporter

His son Ashish Mishra is among the 13 accused arrested in connection with the killing of four farmers and a journalist in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow |
Updated: December 16, 2021 4:28:09 am
Ajay MishraUnion MoS (Home) Ajay Mishra

Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra on Wednesday allegedly called journalists “thieves” and pushed one of them when they sought his comment on the Uttar Pradesh Police SIT charging his jailed son Ashish under additional IPC sections in connection with the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri.

Mishra’s son is among the 13 people arrested in connection with the killing of four farmers and a journalist at Tikonia in the district.

Mishra was inaugurating an oxygen plant in Oel town of Lakhimpur Kheri on Wednesday when the alleged scuffle took place. Several videos of the incident emerged on social media.

Speaking to The Indian Express, TV journalist Naveen Awasthi, who works with ABP News and was allegedly pushed by the minister, said, “There was inauguration by minister Ajay Mishra Teni today. Several journalists were there. I asked him about the oxygen plant, which he inaugurated, and after that, I asked him about the additional charges against his son. When I asked him about it, he got angry and started using abusive language. He snatched my microphone and tried to take my mobile phone. He took the mobile phone of a fellow TV reporter, which has not been returned. He chased the journalist to beat him up. We left the venue from a side exit.”

In a video, Mishra is purportedly heard telling Awasthi, “Aisa hai, bewakofi ke sawaal mat kara karo, dimag kharab hai kya? (Don’t ask me stupid questions. Have you lost your mind?)”

In another video, the minister is purportedly heard telling journalists, “Poocho. Chargesheet lag gayi hai? SIT se poocho jaa kar na. Aise jo tumhare media waale hain na, yahi… choron ne ek nirdosh aadmi ke liye bataya. Sharam nahi aati hai? (Ask me. Has the chargesheet been filed? Go and ask the SIT. Your media people who are thieves have said this about an innocent person. Don’t you feel ashamed?).”

The minister is also seen pushing reporters in the videos.

A group of journalists has submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate, which is addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind.

“We have submitted a memorandum to the district administration seeking protection of journalists so that such an incident is not repeated. The memorandum has been signed by hundreds of journalists in Lakhimpur Kheri. No police complaint has been submitted yet,” Awasthi said.

The memorandum reads, “When journalist Awasthi asked a question to the minister about violence in Tikonia, The Union Minister of State pushed the journalist and said that all mediapersons are crooks and that they work to frame innocent people. He pushed them and took away the mobile phone of a journalist. We request you to take action against Ajay Mishra Teni and ensure the safety of journalists.”

On Tuesday, while firming up the case against the minister’s son and the 12 other accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, a local court had accepted several new charges raised by the revamped SIT, including the charge of attempt to murder, even as the SIT submitted that the killing of four farmers and a journalist on October 3 was a “planned conspiracy”.

On Monday, the SIT had submitted in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court that the killings “did not happen due to negligence or callousness” and that actions of the accused were “deliberate with an intention to kill”.

Despite repeated attempts, minister Mishra could not be reached for comment.

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