New Delhi: The Supreme Court today slammed the Uttar Pradesh government’s handling the Lakhimpur Kheri case, in which eight persons including four farmers were killed on 3 October.
‘We are getting the impression that the Uttar Pradesh police is dragging its feet in its investigation,’the apex court said and reprimanded the police for recording statements of only four out of 44 witnesses. The court directed the Special Investigation Team to identify vulnerable witnesses and offer them protection. Ordering the UP government to protect and record the statement of all witnesses, the Supreme Court said ‘this should not be an unending story’.
CJI Ramana said, ‘Status report filed has been perused. Senior counsels submit that statements will be recorded under 164, and has sought time to take more instructions. Matter to be taken up next on 26th October.’
Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra is accused of running over farmers during a protest on 3 October. Ashish Mishra was arrested on 111 October, three days after the Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction with the Uttar Pradesh government’s action.
A countrywide outrage erupted after eight people were killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri district, while farmers were staging a protest against the Centre’s three laws. The deceased in the case include four farmers and a journalist. The incident led to massive backlash for the UP government which is led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yogi Adityanath.
Earlier, a bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana also asked the UP government to direct its state police chief to ensure that the evidence in the case is protected till the time another agency takes over.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli had on 8 October expressed dissatisfaction over the steps taken by the UP government.