New Delhi: Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra, whose son has been booked in a murder case for allegedly mowing down four farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday inaugurated a national conference on prisons organised by the BPRD, a department of the Home Ministry.
The 61-year-old Minister of State for Home Affairs attended the conference at the headquarters of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) in the Mahipalpur area of the national capital and addressed prison department officers who represented various states and union territories, officials said.
The two-day 7th national conference of heads of prisons of all states and union territories carries the theme of “preparing a decadal road map for the prisons and correctional services”. The BPRD said 75 senior prison officers from 25 states and four UTs are participating in the conference.
Called as the national think tank on police subjects, the BPRD on Wednesday had withdrawn the media invite for the event, saying it is being put on “hold and the invitation may be treated as cancelled”.
Mediapersons who reached the venue on Thursday were not allowed to enter the BPRD campus. The opposition has been demanding the sacking of Mishra, the BJP Lok Sabha MP from Kheri seat, because of the violence. Eight people were killed in the violence — four farmers, two BJP workers, a driver of the minister and a journalist working for a private TV channel.
The minister has categorically denied allegations of his son Ashish Mishra’s involvement in the incident that took place on October 3 during the visit of UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to the district. Police have registered a murder case against Ashish Mishra and others over the death of the farmers.
The minister has denied the allegations by the farmers’ unions that his son was in one of the cars that mowed the farmers and said he has evidence to show that Ashish was at an event being held elsewhere.
According to his version, a vehicle, carrying BJP workers, turned turtle after protesters pelted stones at it. The farmers came under the vehicle and died, he had said. Four occupants of the car were then pulled out and beaten to death allegedly by the protestors, the minister claimed.
MoS Mishra had attended his office at North Block and also called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence on Wednesday. The BPRD conference is scheduled to end with Nityanand Rai, another MoS in the Home Ministry, delivering the valedictory address on Friday.
The Home Ministry has three ministers in the MoS rank, the third being Nisith Pramanik.