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Lakhimpur Kheri Case: ‘Vehemently Opposed’ Ajay Mishra Son’s Bail Plea, UP Govt Tells SC

Lakhimpur Kheri Case: The Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court that it had ‘vehemently opposed’ the bail application of Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister Ajay Mishra.

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Lakhimpur Kheri post violence.(File photo) Tribhuvan Tiwari/Outlook

The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it had "vehemently opposed" the bail application of Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that had left eight people, including four farmers, dead.

Refuting allegations that it had not effectively opposed the bail plea, the state government also submitted that a decision to challenge the grant of bail by the Allahabad High Court to Ashish Mishra is pending consideration before the relevant authorities.

In its reply affidavit filed on the appeal by the family members of the farmers against the high court order, the state government further said investigations showed that a key witness in the case, Diljot Singh, was allegedly beaten up by miscreants on March 10 due to a “sudden altercation” that broke out after they threw Holi colours on him.

The state government made the submission while rejecting allegations in the FIR filed by the witness that the attackers had issued threats that now that the BJP had won the UP elections, they would "see to him".

Asserting that the March 10 incident is not "related at all" to the Lakhimpur violence, it contended that the attack is sought to be “conflated and connected” with the farmer deaths in the town on October 3, 2021. 

The state government said the Allahabad High Court order as well as its counter affidavit would demonstrate it has vehemently opposed the bail application of Ashish Mishra.

“The same clearly demonstrates that the Respondent No.1 (Ashish Mishra) Bail application was vehemently opposed by the State, and any averments to the contrary in the SLP(filed by the family members against HC order) are completely false and merit to be rejected," it added.

The government further said the high court order being of February 10, 2022, the limitation period against the same is still running, and the decision to file a Special Leave Petition(SLP) is pending consideration before the relevant authorities.

Giving details about the March 10 incident, the state government said that as per the petitioners' case, one Diljot Singh, son of Jarnail Singh, was beaten up by miscreants on March 10.

“As per the FIR registered by Diljot Singh, the attackers threatened him saying that the Respondent No. I (Ashish Mishra) is out on bail and the ruling party has also won the election and that they will see to him," it added.

However, during the course of investigations, Diljot's gunner Manoj Singh, assigned to protect him as per the apex court order, as well as 3 independent eyewitnesses to the incident were examined, and all 4 persons stated that it occurred suddenly due to an altercation between Diljot and the attackers over the throwing of Gulal (dry colours of Holi) on him, the affidavit said.

Referring to the Section 161 CrpC statements of the witnesses, the state government said that as per the eyewitnesses, on March 10, at around 8.15 pm, Diljot Singh came towards the Primary school near Danga, on a tractor trolley laden with sugarcane.

“At that time, some people were playing with Holi Gulal near the school and threw the Gulal on Diljot Singh as well. When Diljot Singh objected, an altercation broke out between him and the others, in which one of the miscreants hit him with a belt and others kicked and punched him.

"Contrary to the case put forth in the FIR registered by Diljot Singh, all the witnesses were ad idem(in agreement) on the fact that none of the miscreants mentioned either Ashish Mishra or the ruling party winning the elections, and that the incident was a result of a sudden altercation due to the dispute over Holi Gulal, and had no relation to the incident of October 3, 2021”

The state government said it is to be noted that even the FIR itself does not mention the presence of Ashish Mishra or other accused in the case on the scene.

It said all the named accused in the March 10 incident were arrested on March 11 and they were released on bail on March 14.

The state government said that as per the orders of the court the families of all the victims of Lakhimpur violence and all the witnesses, whose Section 164 statements were recorded, have been receiving continuous security under the Witness Protection Scheme of 2018.

“Each witness has one armed police gunner. The families of the victims have one armed gunner each, along with permanent security guard and continuous monitoring through installed CCTV cameras, as well as barrier duty at their residence. A total of 98 people have been provided security, of which 79 are from Kheri district, 17 from outlying districts and 2 from the State of Uttarakhand”, it said.

On March 16, the top court had sought responses of the UP government and Ashish Mishra on a plea challenging the grant of bail to him. It had also directed the state government to ensure protection of witnesses after counsel, appearing for farmers, referred to the attack on a key witness on March 10.

On October 3 last year, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri during the violence that erupted when farmers were protesting against Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit to the area.

Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV following which the driver and two BJP workers were allegedly lynched by angry farmers.

A journalist also died in the violence that triggered outrage among opposition parties and farmer groups agitating over the Centre's now-repealed agri laws.(With PTI inputs)
 

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