Lakhimpur Kheri: Expedite trial against minister’s son - The Tribune India

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Lakhimpur Kheri

Expedite trial against minister’s son

Lakhimpur Kheri

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo

THE chilling violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri marked an inflection point for the farmers’ protracted agitation against the three Central farm laws. Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV allegedly driven by Ashish Mishra, son of Minister of State for Home Affairs and BJP MP Ajay Mishra Teni, at Kheri’s Tikonia village on October 3, 2021, while they were returning home after taking part in a protest against the contentious laws. Four other persons, including two BJP workers, were killed in the ensuing clashes.

The farmers’ families are not hopeful of getting justice, going by the excruciatingly slow pace of the trial. The statements of only four of the 208 prosecution witnesses have been recorded so far. Ashish, who is facing charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and other offences, has been out on bail since January this year after the district court informed the Supreme Court that the trial would continue for at least five years.

The fact that Ajay Mishra continues to be a Minister of State shows how callously the Central Government has dealt with the entire matter. Opposition parties and farmers’ organisations have repeatedly sought his ouster, but the ruling BJP has persisted with him. Ironically, farmers’ anger over the gruesome killings did not stop the BJP juggernaut — the party swept all eight seats in Lakhimpur Kheri district in the 2022 UP Assembly elections. The state government has paid compensation to the aggrieved families, but it needs to do a lot more. It must dispel the strong impression that political interference is slowing down the trial. The proceedings should be expedited in the interests of justice. At the same time, earnest efforts must be made to scuttle attempts to influence or intimidate the witnesses. They should be able to testify without fear or favour, notwithstanding the clout of the main accused. 

#BJP #Lakhimpur Kheri

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