SC asks UP govt to file status report on Lakhimpur Kheri violence

THE Supreme Court Thursday asked the Uttar Pradesh Government to file a status report relating to the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri by October 8, that is, tomorrow, identifying the names of the accused persons and whether they had been arrested or not.

The three-judge bench of the apex court hearing the matter, constituting Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, said that as per reports some farmers and a journalist were among those who had died in the violence that broke out when farmers, protesting against the three contentious farm laws, had gathered there to block the Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra and Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya from visiting the site.

It said the state government should specify in the status report the persons who had died.

Garima Prashad, Additional Advocate General, UP informed the court that a Special Investigation Team and a Commission of Inquiry has been constituted by the state government to inquire into the violence. The latter is to be headed by a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court.

At the outset, the CJI clarified that due to a miscommunication the court’s registry had listed the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case as suo motu. It thus directed its registry to register the suo motu plea as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

Besides, the Court asked the Additional Solicitor General(ASG) to ensure the best medical treatment to the mother of the deceased Lovepreet Singh, who is stated to be in critical condition due to the shock over her son’s death.

The matter will now be heard on October 8.

The protesting farmers claimed the violence broke out after a car in the minister’s convoy ran over protesters. Visuals from the area showed arson and vehicles being set on fire. Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the incident, NDTV reported.

A murder case has been registered against Mishra’s son, who was allegedly in the aforementioned car, and several others. Opposition party leaders had been barred by the UP Police from visiting the area till Wednesday evening, when the cremation of all those who died was completed. Indian National Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi, who wanted to visit the families of the victims, was denied entry to Lakhimpur Kheri, and was instead detained under Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) from Monday till Wednesday.

The UP government has announced that Rs 45 lakh will be given to each of the families of those who died, along with a government job to a member of each family. Those injured will be given Rs 10 lakh.

Mobile internet services had been suspended in parts of the violence-hit district, where restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people, has also been imposed, according to officials, reported NDTV.