Supreme Court directs to protect witnesses of Lakhimpur violence

SC On Lakhimpur Kheri Violence: The Supreme Court has directed the state government to ensure the safety of all eyewitnesses in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. Also, the court has said that the statements of the witnesses should be recorded before the magistrate at the earliest. The court also asked the SIT to expeditiously complete the lab test of the video evidence found during the investigation of the case. The court has also sought the status report of the investigation in the case of Shyam Sundar and journalist Raman Kashyap who were killed by the mob after the incident.

The judges, who had expressed dissatisfaction with the investigation of the SIT set up by the UP government in the last two hearings, today said that a lot of progress has been made in the investigation. The court said that it is necessary to identify serious witnesses from the crowd of 4-5 thousand people present during the incident. On behalf of the UP government, the court was told that 68 witnesses have been identified. Of these, 43 statements have been recorded. There are a total of 30 witnesses whose statements have been recorded before the magistrate under section 164 of CrPC. Out of these 30, 23 have declared themselves as eyewitnesses.

A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justices Suryakant and Hima Kohli expressed surprise over this and said that out of such a large crowd, only 23 people have come forward. Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the UP government, told the judges that the advertisement was issued to call the witnesses. Salve said that many important video evidences have been found during the investigation. On this, the Chief Justice said that the examination of these video evidence should be completed at the earliest.

The court also questioned the security of the witnesses. In response, Salve said that he is being given security as per the need. The court recorded this in a written order. Along with this, on his part also directed that the safety of the witnesses should be ensured. The court asked the Lakhimpur district judge to ensure that magistrates are available to record the statements of the witnesses under Section 164.

Ruby Devi, wife of Shyam Sundar, who was killed in the incident, and the family of late journalist Raman Kashyap also complained about the lack of investigation. Ruby Devi said that the 3 named accused in the murder of her husband have not been arrested yet. The court asked the UP government to submit a status report on both these matters as well. The next hearing of the case will be on November 8.

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One thought on “Supreme Court directs to protect witnesses of Lakhimpur violence”
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