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?”

Among the journalists who shared the video were Aman Chopra and Himanshu Mishra. It was also referred by many media outlets including ABP News and Dainik Bhaskar.

Shehzad Poonawalla tweeted the video questioning, “Why was Cong Akhilesh Das’ nephew in convoy? [sic]”

Why indeed?

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”.

He has shared pictures with Ajay Mishra numerous times, including photos of him at his residence with other BJP leaders. In one of the posts below, he calls Ashish a “dear friend”.

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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.

In fact, Ashish Mishra and a Twitter account by the name of BJP Lakhimpur have also uploaded pictures with Ankit at BJP events.

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.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.