“Only 23 Witnesses?” SC Asks UP Govt In Lakhimpur Kheri Case

“Only 23 Witnesses?” SC Asks UP Govt In Lakhimpur Kheri Case
REPRESENTATIONAL

The Supreme Court (SC) once again questioned the Uttar Pradesh government in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence incident on Tuesday. The SC asked why there were only 23 eye witnesses in the incident on October 3, where union minister Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra is the prime accused.

The court asked the UP government to gather more witnesses and also to provide protection to them. In its order, the SC said "If there is any difficulty in recording statements and unavailability of judicial officers, then the nearest district judge has to ensure the availability of a substitute", directing the government to record more statements.

In the last hearing the apex court sternly directed the UP government to "dispel the feeling that you are dragging your feet" in the case. "You have recorded the statements of only four witnesses so far out of 44. Why not more?" CJI Ramana had asked.

Ashish Mishra is accused of running over a group of farmers who were protesting and also allegedly shooting at them. Violence erupted following the incident where more people killed. The SC had asked the UP government to submit a separate report on those killed including a journalist.

Ashish Mishra was arrested on October 11, three days after the court expressed disappointment at the UP government's handling of the case.

The SC was also dissatisfied at the government's "last minute" filing of the status report which it had asked for, mentioning the arrests made in the case and charges that were leveled.

Meanwhile, both father son duo have maintained their stance of not being present during the incident. Ajay Mishra said that the car belonged to him but neither he nor his son was present at the time of the incident.

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