Lakhimpur Kheri case: SC notice on Ashish Mishra's bail plea
The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday on the bail plea of Ashish Mishra—accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri case and Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra's son. It asked the state to submit its response by September 26. The bench was hearing Ashish's petition, which challenged the Allahabad High Court's July 26 order that dismissed his regular bail application.
Why does this story matter?
- The accused Ashish allegedly plowed through a rally of farmers protesting the now-scrapped central farm laws, which triggered violence that killed eight, including four farmers, two BJP workers, a journalist, and a driver, in October 2021.
- The incident elicited a strong response from the protesters accusing the ruling BJP government of shielding the accused. Protesters had also called for Union minister Mishra's sacking.
Case comes under category of heinous crime: Allahabad HC
In its July 26 order, the Allahabad High Court remarked that four farmers died in the incident and the accused Ashish and his car were present there. "This is the biggest fact. This case comes under the category of a heinous crime," it said. On Tuesday, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Mishra before the SC bench of justices Indira Banerjee and MM Sundresh.
SC had pulled up UP government for lax probe
The Lakhimpur Kheri incident took place on October 3 last year and the accused roamed scot-free, skipping police summons, until days later. After the SC chided the UP government for its lackadaisical approach to the investigation, combined with mounting pressure from the protesters and the Opposition, the accused finally appeared before the police on October 9 and was later taken into custody after questioning.
Top court canceled Ashish's bail in April
To recall, the Allahabad HC granted bail to Ashish back in February. However, the Supreme Court set the same aside later in April and even noted the high court had taken "irrelevant considerations" into account and ignored relevant factors while granting the bail. Canceling Ashish's bail, the top court had ordered him to surrender again.
Ajay Mishra had blamed local police for the violence
Days after the incident, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Mishra blamed the local police for the violence. He alleged despite intelligence inputs, the police didn't take proper action. He claimed barricades weren't installed on the route through which farmers were returning after a protest. However, a UP Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) last year stated that the violence was a "planned conspiracy."
Take a look at the SIT's report
The SIT probing Lakhimpur Kheri (where Home Minister's son Ashish Mishra's car mowed down farmers), says that it was no accident or negligence, but a preplanned conspiracy to murder farmers. Wonder where this leaves our Home Minister Ajay Mishra the BJP which has shielded him pic.twitter.com/pNjVVDalWK— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) December 14, 2021