A horrific video purportedly showing three vehicles, including a Mahindra Thar and a Toyota Fortuner, running over a group of farmer protestors at Tikunia in Lakhimpur Kheri surfaced on social media after four farmers died in Sunday’s incident. Injured protesters and eyewitnesses have alleged that Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish (Monu) was in the Thar. The politician has, in turn, claimed that his son was not present at the site of the incident. Several media outlets, and social media accounts supportive of the BJP, have attempted to shift the blame on farmers, claiming that the cars ferrying BJP leaders and workers lost control after being attacked by the protesters. Evidence to support this claim is yet to be presented.
A new video has now surfaced where a policeman is seen interrogating a man who claims to have been sitting in the second car (Toyota Fortuner) that had five occupants. He claimed that the car belonged to Ankit Das. According to reports, Ankit is the nephew of late former Congress MP Akhilesh Das. This video is being circulated by members of the BJP to allege a Congress conspiracy behind the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. Below are tweets by Amit Malviya and Priti Gandhi with the suggestive question, “What were Congress leaders doing in Lakhimpur?”
लखीमपुर दुर्घटना में घायल यह युवक पुलिस के सामने दावा कर रहा है कि काफिले में पूर्व कांग्रेस सांसद अखिलेश दास के भतीजे अंकित दास भी अपनी फार्च्यूनर गाड़ी में सवार थे।
उत्तर प्रदेश जाने के लिए आतुर गांधी परिवार के बच्चे ये बताएँगे की कांग्रेस नेता लखीमपुर में क्या कर रहे थे? pic.twitter.com/IKuaLNAVLs
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) October 6, 2021
This youth injured in #Lakhimpur is admitting that Ankit Das, nephew of former Congress MP Akhilesh Das, was also present with his Fortuner car in the convoy.
Children of Gandhi family, eager to go to Uttar Pradesh, should tell us what Congress leaders were doing in the convoy? pic.twitter.com/wzLKT9waCN
— Priti Gandhi – प्रीति गांधी (@MrsGandhi) October 6, 2021
Shehzad Poonawalla tweeted the video questioning, “Why was Cong Akhilesh Das’ nephew in convoy? [sic]”
The question is fairly simple to answer. Ankit Das is a supporter of the BJP. In fact, as reported by Aaj Tak, on the arrival of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, posters with photos of Ashish Mishra and Ankit Das were put up at several places in Lakhimpur on October 3.
Ankit Das appears close to both Ashish and his father BJP leader Ajay Mishra. Below is a poster of a collage of pictures of Ankit with Ajay Mishra. He shared the pictures on the occasion of the Union Minister’s birthday and referred to him as his “guide”.
Ankit has not made any posts on his Facebook profile praising Congress or its leaders. His account documents his political activities with the BJP. He made the first post on his Facebook profile on September 21 and the very next day, he shared a poster praising UP CM Yogi Adityanath.
Ankit identifies as the Vice President of Akhil Bharatiya Vaishya Ekta Parishad, an organisation that openly supports the BJP. There are videos of top leaders of the party attending national conventions of Vaishya Ekta Parishad as speakers.
There is an organised attempt to claim that a Congress leader was in the convoy that ran over farmer protesters in Lakhimpur. OpIndia published an article blaming Congress leaders for sharing a clipped portion of the police interrogation video. The article has no mention of Ankit Das’ closeness with the BJP, which is apparent from his political activities. BJP members and supporters are busy highlighting the fact that Ankit is the nephew of former late Congress leader Akhilesh Das who was earlier in the BSP. But Ankit is a friend of Ashish, as per reports, and a senior police officer was quoted by The Times of India as saying that the Fortuner is registered in his name.