The Allahabad High Court on Thursday granted bail to Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident in which eight people including four farmers were killed. While announcing the order, the court reportedly said that the FIR in the case wrongly framed Ashish Mishra for the role of firing at protestors since no firearm injury was found on the bodies of the deceased.
The court also noted that there is a possibility that the driver of the vehicle, owned by Ashish Mishra, was trying to save himself from the protesters resulting which the accident took place. To this, the prosecution claimed that Ashish Mishra provoked the driver to crush the people protesting on road.
Meanwhile, the counsel appearing on behalf of Ashish Mishra told the court that his client was innocent and there was no evidence against him that he incited the driver of the vehicle to crush the farmers.
In the order passed, Justice Rajeev Singh said, “Indubitably, no firearm injury has been found on the body of the deceased or any other person, except the injury of the hitting from the vehicle. Furthermore, in case, the story of the prosecution is accepted, thousands of protesters gathered at the place of the incident and there might be a possibility that the driver tried to speed up the vehicle to save himself, on account of which, the incident had taken place.”
The court was further quoted as saying that it “cannot shut its eyes to the killing of three persons sitting in the vehicle, including the driver, who were killed by the protesters”.
The court also expressed concern over the “serious lackness” by the district administration in handling the situation on October 3 last year.
“However, before parting with the judgment, it is noteworthy to mention here that there was serious lackness of the District Administration, as some persons, for their political benefits, call innocent persons, without due permission under law. In the present case, though the order under Section 144 CrPC. was operating, 17 thousands of persons from different districts, even from other States gathered at one place, which was very well within the knowledge of the District Administration, as is evident from the statement of its officials, but neither any preventive action was taken nor any action against the organisers had been taken,” the court order reads.
The High Court also directed the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh to issue necessary direction and guidelines for regulating such type of assemblies and procession in order to avoid the inconvenience caused to the citizens on account of such types of assemblies.
The Lucknow bench of the court had reserved its order on January 18 on Ashish Mishra’s plea after concluding the hearing through video conferencing. Opposing the plea, Additional Advocate General V K Shahi had said that at the time of the incident, Ashish Mishra was in the car that mowed down the farmers. After hearing the pleas, the bench of Justice Rajeev Singh had reserved its order.
On October 3 last year, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri during violence that erupted when farmers were protesting against Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit to the area. Ashish Mishra is one of the accused in the incident.
(with inputs from PTI)