Lakhimpur Kheri case witness shot at in Uttar Pradesh
Two bike-borne men intercepted a vehicle that farmer leader Dilbag Singh was travelling in and fired at a tyre and the window pane on the driver’s side.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Dilbag Singh, one of the witness in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, was on Tuesday shot at by two unidentified men in Uttar Pradesh, PTI reported. A first information report has been registered against them on charges of attempt to murder.
The Lakhimpur Kheri violence case pertains to the killing of four farmers and a journalist during a protest in the Uttar Pradesh district on October 3 against the three farm laws that have now been repealed. A total of eight people died in the violence that followed the protest. Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra is a prime accused in the case.
On Tuesday evening, the men on a motorcycle intercepted the four-wheeler that Singh was travelling in and fired at it. The attack took place when Singh, the Lakhimpur Kheri district president of Bharatiya Kisan Union, was returning home alone. The farmer leader told PTI that his security guard was on leave at the time of the attack because his son had fallen sick.
Singh said the attackers first punctured a tyre of his SUV by firing a bullet at it, because of which he had to stop the car. “The assailants attempted to open the gates and windows of the SUV,” he added. “When failed, they fired two shots at the window pane of the driver side.”
After this, Singh said, he bent down towards the floor of the car fearing for his life. The assailants fled once they could not locate him as the windows of the vehicle were covered, he added. The farmer leader did not sustain any injuries.
Singh is the third witness in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case to have been attacked, according to Dainik Bhaskar.
Soon after the attack, the farmer leader filed a police complaint and informed Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, who had also alleged that he was hit with a microphone before ink was thrown at him at a press conference in Bengaluru on May 30.
An first information report under Indian Penal Code Section 307 (attempt to murder) has been registered at Gola police station in Lakhimpur Kheri against two unidentified assailants for the attack on Singh.
Additional Superintendent of Police Arun Kumar Singh told PTI that forensic teams had been sent to the scene to examine the car and collect evidence. The officer added that Singh sent his security guard on leave on his own without informing the authorities. The guard was provided to him by the district administration.
The Lakhimpur Kheri violence
Farmer bodies had alleged that a vehicle belonging to Ashish Mishra had run over those protesting against the farm laws. He had been arrested on October 9. He walked out of jail on February 15 after the Allahabad High Court granted him bail on February 10.
On April 18, the Supreme Court had cancelled the bail, saying that the Allahabad High Court took into account irrelevant considerations. Families of those killed had challenged the bail order in the Supreme Court.
During an hearing on March 16, the Supreme Court had also asked the Uttar Pradesh government to protect the witnesses in the case.
The families of the farmers, represented by advocates Dushyant Dave and Prashant Bhushan, informed the court that a witness was brutally attacked by a group, which referred to the victory of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the state Assembly elections and how it would not be favorable for those who testify in the case.
Farmers have also repeatedly raised their concerns about the possibility of Mishra tampering with the witnesses and obstructing investigation into the killings.
The Union minister’s son surrendered before the authorities on April 24. His bail plea will be heard by the Allahabad High Court on July 8.