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UP Violence: 72 hours later, no arrest; Supreme Court takes suo motu notice, hearing by CJI-led Bench today

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 6

Even as the Uttar Pradesh administration on Wednesday allowed politicians to visit Lakhimpur Kheri in groups of five, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of the violence in which eight persons, including four farmers, were killed.

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The case is listed before a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana for Thursday. The others on the Bench are Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli. The UP administration permitted political leaders into Lakhimpur only after the mortal remains of the fourth farmer were consigned to flames following a second autopsy.

AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha meet kin of deceased farmer Nachhatar Singh at Ghanora village in Lakhimpur Kheri. PTI

“Farmers are being attacked, killed,” alleged Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, terming the BJP rule “a dictatorship”, before leaving for Lakhimpur to visit the violence-hit families. “We used to be a democracy. Now we are a dictatorship. For a while now the government has been attacking farmers. They are being mowed down, murdered. BJP Union Minister is being named along with his son. No action has been taken. Postmortems are not being performed properly. We are telling the government to let democracy work and not shut this safety valve, else there will be problems. We are going to the farmers to give them confidence that they can’t be run over by a minister’s son. We are going with a message of hope,” Rahul said.

Also read: Punjab AAP leaders meet victims’ kin in Lakhimpur Kheri

He was accompanied by sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Punjab CM Charanjit Channi, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and Congress general secretaries KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala. The ruling party called Rahul a political tourist, saying “perhaps he has forgotten Emergency and the 1984 Sikh massacre.”

As battle lines on Lakhimpur Kheri hardened with the Congress-led Punjab and Chhattisgarh governments announcing Rs 50 lakh each for the kin of the deceased, the affected families spent another day awaiting justice. Over 72 hours after the incident, in which eight persons were killed on Sunday, no arrest has been made. Asked about inaction on the FIR that accuses the son of Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra of murder, Lucknow Inspector-General Laxmi Singh said a team had been formed and arrests would only be made after evidence was found. He was silent on remarks that the identity of the accused was evident in several circulating videos.

DG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar later said all videos of the purported violence (including those showing SUVs mowing down farmers and others showing a section of protesters wearing Bhindranwale T-shirts) were being probed. “The Khalistan angle has not been ruled out,” police sources said.

The UP Government, the sources said, had sent a report on the incident to the PMO and Home Minister.

Congress leaders and MP Sanjay Singh-led AAP delegation managed to meet the affected families in the evening. The mother of deceased Lovepreet Singh (19) remains on saline drip. The family of journalist Raman Kashyap say their ward was hit by a vehicle and want the ‘killers’ arrested.

The police are also examining a cross FIR filed by a BJP worker, alleging that Mishra’s convoy was attacked and overturned and four persons were beaten to death by protesters.

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UP sends report to PMO, Home Minister

Arrests only after evidence found: Lucknow IG
Khalistan angle not ruled out, say UP police sources
Politicians allowed into Lakhimpur in groups of five
Punjab, Chhattisgarh announce Rs50 lakh for kin of deceased
Rahul a political tourist: BJP

Mishra meets Shah, calls it Oppn plot

New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra on Wednesday met Home Minister Amit Shah for the first time after a murder case was registered against his son for allegedly mowing down four farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, the constituency he represents in Parliament. The meeting lasted 30 minutes.

Sources said Mishra, who had sought time from Shah’s office, neither offered to quit nor was asked to do so. He reportedly spoke of the Opposition “conspiring against the BJP”. Mishra attended office in the North Block.

Meanwhile, a media invite for an event scheduled for Thursday where Mishra was the chief guest has been “cancelled”. A media officer for the Bureau of Police Research and Development said the programme had been “put on hold” and the invitation “may be treated as cancelled”. — TNS

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