UP row: File separate report on 2nd FIR, SC tells govt

Lakhimpur Kheri: SC asks UP govt to file separate report on probe in second FIR

The court will hear the matter on November 8 next

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI File Photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file a separate report on investigation in the second FIR in October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence in which four persons, including a journalist, were killed, immediately after mowing down of four farmers, protesting against the agri reforms laws.

Taking up a PIL, a bench presided over by Chief Justice N V Ramana also ordered protection of witnesses in the first FIR and expeditious recording of their statements.

Senior advocate Arun Bhardwaj, representing Ruby Devi, widow of Shyam Sundar, submitted before the bench that her husband's killers were roaming free and no action had been taken against them.

There are three accused who are allegedly responsible for her husband's death and the police have not taken any action against them, he said

"The killers are roaming free and threatening us," he said.

Senior advocate, Harshvir Pratap Sharma, appearing for the family of the journalist Raman Kashyap also asked the court to direct the police to apprehend the accused involved.

The bench asked senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government to file separate replies.

Salve, for his part, said Shyam Sundar was an accused and got killed in the incident that following the first offence relating to mowing down of farmers.

He said the police were investigating the second case in which the journalist was also killed.

The court fixed the matter for further hearing on November 8.

During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, expressed surprise that out of a gathering of 4,000-5,000 people, only 23 people are eyewitnesses to the incident.

Reading out a fresh status report, Salve said that out of 68, thirty witnesses have recorded their statements under Section 164 Criminal Procedure Code. Of these, 23 are eyewitnesses. 

The bench wondered how in a case where there were hundreds of farmers in a rally, only 23 people were there as eyewitnesses.

Salve said digital evidence was being examined in the matter.

It was on the basis of eyewitnesses' statements that 16 accused have been identified, he said. 

As many as eight people, including four farmers, were killed on October 3, when a car allegedly ferrying the Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son ran over a group of protesters, gathered to oppose a programme attended by Uttar Pradesh's deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in Lakhimpur Kheri. The minister's son, Ashish Mishra was subsequently arrested in the case after the top court took up the letter petition filed by advocate Shiv Kumar Tripathi and another person and pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government over the delay.

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