Four days after farmers were run over by a Union Minister’s convoy in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri, the Supreme Court today demanded to know “how many have been arrested” and asked for a status report by tomorrow from the state government.
The court asked the government to file a status report tomorrow specifying action taken and the eight who were killed on Sunday during a protest against Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s visit.
“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.
Lawyer Shivkumar Tripathi had written to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana to step in amid a massive controversy over Junior Home Minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra being accused of running over farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri.
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,” the petitioner said.
According to Mr Tripathi, the UP government “has not taken the kind of action that is needed in a democratic process”.
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,” Chief Justice Ramana said.
“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 the 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.