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    Priyanka leads silent protest seeking removal of Ajay Mishra

    Lucknow: Congress leaders led by party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra staged a silent protest here on Monday demanding the dismissal of Union minister Ajay Mishra in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

    The minister’s son Ashish was arrested on Saturday by the Uttar Pradesh Police in connection with the October 3 violence in which eight people, including four farmers, were killed.

    He was produced before a court late on Saturday night, which sent him to 14-day judicial custody.

    Congressmen sat on a ‘maun vrat’ in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, demanding the dismissal of the Union minister, a party spokesperson said.

    Congress workers and leaders, including state president Ajay Kumar Lallu, Legislature Party leader Aradhana Mishra, leader in the Legislative Council Dipak Singh among others converged at the GPO park here and were later were joined by Priyanka Gandhi, the spokesperson said.

    The party has demanded dismissal of the minister for ensuring a free and fair investigation in the case.

    Addressing a rally in Varanasi on Sunday, Priyanka Gandhi had said, “Congress workers do not fear anyone even if you put them in jails or beat them up. We will continue to fight till the Union minister resigns. Our party has fought for the country’s Independence. No one can silence us.”

    UP minister Siddharth Nath Singh, however, said the law will take its own course and will not be influenced by any kind of pressure.

    Singh said if the Congress leaders want to sit on a ‘maun vrat’ or hold protests, it is their democratic right.

    In an apparent jibe at Manmohan Singh, the UP government spokesperson said a prime minister had been on ‘maun vrat’ for 10 years.

    Why were protests not held in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where atrocities were allegedly being committed against Dalits and farmers, Singh asked.

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