The Uttar Pradesh government has announced that a panel led by a retired High Court Judge will investigate the violence that occurred in Lakhimpur Kheri district on Sunday, which resulted in the deaths of eight people. The declaration came ahead of a Supreme Court hearing later today.
According to the order signed by UP Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi, a single-member commission will be led by retired High Court Judge Pradeep Kumar Srivastava. The commission has been given two months to conduct its investigation.
The matter will be heard today by a Supreme Court panel led by Chief Justice NV Ramana. Following a rising outrage over the UP Police’s conduct of the probe, media reports, and a letter submitted to the Chief Justice by two state lawyers, the court decided to take up the case. The letter demanded an investigation by the CBI, which would be overseen by the Supreme Court.
The matter was supposed to be list as public interest litigation (PIL), but it became suo motu, Chief Justice Ramana said. “We had directed the Supreme Court registry to listed this matter as a PIL. But due to miscommunication, it became suo motu. Inform both the lawyers to be present. Matter to be list as PIL,” he said.
On Wednesday, Congress’s Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met two families who had lost loved ones in the incident. “Families are not satisfied with the post mortem reports. They want action against the culprit. They need justice. Everyone knows who is the accused,” Mr Gandhi said.
According to protest leaders, four of the eight were murdered when a car driven by Ashish Misra (son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra) allegedly ran over them. Two BJP workers, Mr Mishra’s driver, and a journalist working for a private television channel were the other four. Ashish Misra had not been detained four days after being identified in a police report.
The police stated they were looking into the crash and had filed a complaint against 13 people. The father of Ashish Mishra has ruled out quitting, and he met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi yesterday. When asked if the cops were under duress, Prashant Kumar, the state police’s Additional Director General, said, “What pressure? Families are satisfied, and the court is as well… How we act will be determined by the passage of time. We’ll arrest the criminal, charge them, and bring them to justice. We are conscious that the entire world is watching us “..
Ajay Mishra and his son have denied being present at the incident. However, Ajay Mishra has confessed that the vehicle is theirs. According to him, the vehicle lost control and collided with the farmers after they flung stones at it and attacked it with sticks and swords. Ashish Mishra, who has also denied being present, is still on the loose.
A lengthier, higher-quality video appears to refute the minister’s allegation that their Mahindra Thar was targeted. The footage shows no stones or sticks being hurled at the SUV as it ploughed into a group of farmers marching in front of it with their backs to it at high speeds. We have no way of verifying the video’s validity or the events that lead up to it.
Families of those killed would receive a financial compensation of Rs 45 lakh from the Uttar Pradesh government. “The affected families will certainly get justice, the government had ordered an investigation into the case. The affected families have accepted the financial assistance provided to them by the government,” Union minister Kaushal Kishore was quoted.
The violence on Sunday was the deadliest in the farmers’ long-running protest against the Centre’s new agri laws, which began last year.