Four days after a group of farmers were run over by a Union Minister’s car in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri, the Supreme Court demanded to know today “how many have been arrested” and asked for a status report tomorrow from the state government.
The court asked the government to file a status report tomorrow specify action taken and details of the eight who were killed on Sunday during a protest against Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s visit.
“We need to know whom you registered an FIR against and how many have you arrested,” the Supreme Court told the Yogi Adityanath government.
“In the status report also tell us about the eight persons who have been killed. Farmers, journalist etc. It is an unfortunate incident. Tell us whom you registered FIR against. How many have you arrested,” the Supreme Court questioned.
A new video that emerged yesterday made it clear that the protest at Lakhimpur Kheri was peaceful until Junior Home Minister Ajay Mishra’s convoy rammed protesters from behind. His son Ashish Mishra has been accused of driving the SUV that ran over farmers.
An FIR has been registered against Ashish Mishra but he has yet to be arrested or even questioned.
“A number of farmers have died due to the negligence of authorities. We requested that the court should take appropriate action regarding the issue. It’s a human right violation,” said lawyer Shivkumar Tripathi, who had written to the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana.
According to Mr Tripathi, the UP government “has not taken the kind of action that is needed in a democratic process” and its action was delayed.
He asked for an FIR “because farmers are suffering and are afraid”.
The Uttar Pradesh government told the court that an FIR had been filed and an inquiry by a former judge would look into the allegations.
“The grievance is that you are not registering a proper FIR and a proper investigation not taking place,” Chief Justice Ramana said.
The Chief Justice also said the court had received a message during the hearing that the mother of one of the farmers killed in the incident was in a critical state.
“During the hearing we have received a message that the mother of one of the deceased is in a critical medical condition post the loss of her son. We direct the UP government to assist her with medical care immediately,” said the Chief Justice.
“Admit her to nearest government medical college,” directed Justice Surya Kant.
Four farmers were run over when the Union Minister’s convoy drove into a group of protesters at top speed – a moment captured in multiple unverified videos that have gone viral.
Four others — a journalist, two BJP worker and a driver — were also killed in violence. The police have registered a case against 13 people.
Amid calls for his sacking, Union Minister Ajay Mishra has ruled out resigning.
While Mr Mishra has admitted the car that ran over protesters was his, both he and his son have denied that they were present during the incident.
Mr Mishra was the chief guest at a meeting of prison officials today. The Border Security Force, a paramilitary force under his ministry, was deployed to keep the media out.
The petitioner told NDTV: “I decided to write to the Chief Justice as a conscious citizen of a democratic country. If one can’t get justice even in a democracy, then where else will justice happen? I was disturbed by the videos of the farmers being mowed down, especially that old farmer