“The minister must resign. He is a criminal,” Rahul Gandhi said in the Lok Sabha.
“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,” he was quoted as saying, inside Parliament, by news agency ANI.
Several opposition MPs have served adjournment notices in both Houses calling for debates on the investigating police team’s “planned conspiracy” remark. The protests, which included placards reading “justice for Lakhimpur victims” and “sack MoS Home”, caused both Houses to be adjourned till 2 pm.
Rahul Gandhi’s demand was also reiterated by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who tweeted that the government’s refusal to sack Mr Mishra was “the starkest indication of its moral bankruptcy”.
“The government’s refusal to sack Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’ 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.
…Ajay Mishra Teni should be sacked and charged in accordance with the law. 2/2
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) December 16, 2021
Several opposition MPs voiced similar demands.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi slammed the opposition for deliberately stalling legislative work. He said the government was unwilling to discuss the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and the SIT’s observation because the matter is sub judice.
“A Supreme Court-monitored investigation is going on… the matter is sub judice. But there are other things to talk about. I am appealing to the opposition to discuss this. If we have made mistakes, then give us constructive suggestions. We are ready to talk about Covid, for example…” he said.
In the growing (and ever-more hostile) stand-off between the government and the opposition over the Lakhimpur Kheri killings, Rahul Gandhi also led the opposition charge on Wednesday when he targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accused him of shielding the minister.
“It has been said that it (Lakhimpur Kheri incident) is a conspiracy. It obviously is. Everyone knows whose son is involved. We want the minister to resign. We want a discussion in parliament. But the PM refuses. They are making excuses,” he told reporters inside Parliament.
With inputs from NDTV, PTI