Lakhimpur violence: SC reserves order on Ashish Mishra's bail plea
The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on the bail petition of Ashish Mishra in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra, is one of the accused in the case. The accused had challenged the Allahabad High Court's order, which rejected his bail plea, with the Uttar Pradesh government and the victims' families opposing the move.
Why does this story matter?
- Mishra allegedly plowed through a farmers' rally protesting the now-scrapped farm laws in October 2021.
- This triggered massive violence in the area, killing four farmers, two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers, a driver, and a journalist.
- The incident also triggered a strong reply from the agitators, who also accused the BJP government of protecting the accused.
It's a grave and heinous crime: Garima Prashad
The bench of Justices J K Maheshwari and Surya Kant heard submissions from Additional Advocate General for UP Garima Prashad and senior advocates Dushyant Dave and Mukul Rohatgi. "We will pass orders," news agency PTI quoted the bench as saying. Meanwhile, Prashad opposed the bail plea and argued that it was a heinous and grave crime and his bail would "send a wrong signal."
Mishra's bail would send wrong message to society: Dave
Representing those against Mishra's bail application, senior advocate Dushyant Dave told the court that granting him bail would send the wrong message to society. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Mishra, opposed Dave's submission and pointed out that the accused had been in custody for over a year, and the way the proceedings are going, it'll take seven to eight more years to conclude them.
'Can bail be granted because accused spent year in jail?'
Advocate Dave contended that even today, the accused's father has not been prosecuted as a co-conspirator, reported news outlet The Indian Express. "Can the accused be granted bail just because he spent a year in jail?" asked Dave. "It is about balancing the rights of parties. There should not be indefinite incarceration," the Supreme Court bench responded.
Accused had blamed police for not taking proper action
Just days after the violence, the accused blamed the local cops for the incident. Mishra had claimed that in spite of the intelligence inputs, the police did not take proper action. He alleged that barricades weren't installed on the route through which farmers were returning after a protest. However, Uttar Pradesh Police's Special Investigation Team (SIT) claimed that the incident was a "planned conspiracy."