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SC to hear Lakhimpur Kheri matter today

New Delhi/ Lakhimpur Kheri, Oct 19 (PTI/ IANS) | Publish Date: 10/19/2021 1:13:39 PM IST

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Wednesday the matter pertaining to the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri in which eight persons, including four farmers, were killed during a farmers’ protest.

  A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, which had on October 8 expressed dissatisfaction over the steps taken by the Uttar Pradesh government in the “brutal” murder of eight persons, would hear the matter. Ten people, including Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, have been arrested so far in connection with the case. The top court is hearing the matter after two lawyers had written a letter to the CJI seeking a high-level judicial inquiry, also involving the CBI, into the incident. Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in Lakhimpur Kheri when a group agitating against the Centre’s three new farm laws was holding a demonstration against the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on October 3.

Two BJP workers and a driver were beaten to death allegedly by the angry protesters, while a local journalist was also killed in the violence. Several farmer organisations are protesting against the passage of three laws -- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 since last November.

The apex court had stayed the implementation of these laws in January. Initially, the protests started from Punjab in November last year and later spread to Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. While hearing the matter on October 8, the apex court had questioned the Uttar Pradesh government over the non-arrest of all the accused and had directed preservation of evidence. The bench had said, “the law must take its course against all accused” and “the government has to take all remedial steps in this regard to inspire confidence” in the investigation of “brutal murder of eight persons”.The counsel appearing for the state government had assured the top court on October 8 that all appropriate action would be taken in the case. 

BJP leader among 4 more held in Lakhimpur case

 Four more persons, including a BJP leader who was seen inside the SUV that mowed down protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3, have been arrested. A statement released by Prashant Kumar, ADG (law and order) late on Monday night, said: “The accused Sumit Jaiswal, Shishupal, Nandan Singh Bisht and Satya Prakash Tripathi have been arrested by Lakhimpur Kheri Police and SWAT team of Crime branch. Licensed revolver and three bullets were recovered from Satya Prakash Tripathi and seized.”

Local BJP leader Sumit Jaiswal, who was seen in a viral video escaping from the lead SUV in the convoy of vehicles that crushed the farmers, had earlier filed a murder FIR against unnamed farmers, claiming that his driver, friend and two BJP workers were beaten to death after their vehicles lost control due to heavy stone pelting and accidentally hit farmers

In the viral video, Jaiswal was seen running from the Thar SUV that drove into protesters from behind.

It may be recalled that four farmers and a journalist were run over on October 3 by a convoy of three vehicles, one of which belongs to Union Minister of state for home, Ajay Mishra Teni.

Mishra’s son Ashish was arrested on October 9, five days after he was named in the FIR related to the incident on charges of murder.

The families of farmers who died in the incident, had alleged in their complaint to the police that Ashish was inside the lead SUV that crushed the farmers .

An FIR was lodged at the Tikunia police station on October 3 over the episode. Later, a counter-FIR was lodged at the same police station on the basis of a complaint by Sumit Jaiswal, who has now been arrested.

Sumit Jaiswal had also claimed that the protesters attacked Ashish Mishra’s convoy, not the other way round. He also claimed the car was not moving, and it was the protesters that attacked the convoy.

“We were at the programme venue. There was an atmosphere of fear. They were armed with sticks and rocks and they kept attacking us, abusing us. They also shouted ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ and they climbed the car,” he said.

Ashish Mishra has also denied the charge that he was at the crime scene when the murders took place. He stated that he was in his paternal village, around two km away, and stayed there all day.

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