‘We think you’re dragging feet’: SC tells UP govt on Lakhimpur violence; matter to be heard on Oct 26

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Updated: October 20, 2021 1:05 PM

Lakhimpur Kheri Violence: 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.

Lakhimpur Kheri Violence: 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 Supreme Court on Wednesday said it thinks that the Uttar Pradesh government is “dragging its feet” in the investigation of Lakhimpur Kheri violence which claimed eight lives, adding that it should “dispel this impression”. The court said it will hear the matter on October 26.

The court granted a week’s time to the state government to file status report in the case and record statements of all the witnesses in the case. The latter assured the top court that it will provide protection to the witnesses.

On being informed by the state government that statements of 44 out of 164 witnesses have been recorded by judicial magistrate, a bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli directed that statements of the remaining witnesses be recorded too.

It also rebuked the UP government for what it called its “last minute” submission of a report. “We waited till 1 AM last night that we will get material,” Chief Justice of India NV Ramana told senior lawyer Harish Salve, representing the UP government.

The bench had on October 8 expressed dissatisfaction over the steps taken by the Uttar Pradesh government in the “brutal” murder of eight persons, was hearing the matter. The top court was 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.

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.

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.

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