The Supreme Court expressed its disapproval with the Uttar Pradesh government’s status report on the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri incident, saying that the proceedings will be monitored by a judge from a different High Court until the chargesheet is issued. The hearing has been rescheduled until Friday by the Supreme Court.
During a farmers’ protest in Lakhimpur Kheri, eight persons were slain, including four farmers.
The petition was being heard by a bench consisting of Chief Justice N V Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, which had expressed concern with the Uttar Pradesh government’s actions in the “murder” of eight people on October 8.
According to news agency PTI, the bench suggested retired justices of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justices Rakesh Kumar Jain or Ranjit Singh, to oversee the investigation until chargesheets were filed.
So far, ten persons have been arrested in connection with the case, including Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra. The top court is considering the case after two lawyers wrote to the Chief Justice of India, requesting a high-level judicial investigation into the incident, which would also include the CBI.
When a group protesting the Centre’s three new farm rules held a demonstration against the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on October 3, four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in Lakhimpur Kheri. Two BJP staffers and a driver were allegedly beaten to death by enraged demonstrators, while a local journalist was also killed.
On October 8, the Supreme Court questioned the Uttar Pradesh government about the non-arrest of all the defendants and ordered the evidence to be preserved. “The law must run its course against all accused,” the bench added, “and the government must take all remedial efforts in this regard to inspire confidence in the investigation of the horrible murder of eight people.”
On October 26, the Supreme Court ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to provide security for the witnesses. The SC bench had also requested an update on the investigation into the deaths of Shyam Sundar, a passenger in one of the vehicles involved in the event, and Kashyap, who was allegedly slain in the aftermath of the vehicle collision.
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