Delhi, 25th January, 2023
The Supreme Court, today, granted interim bail for eight weeks to Ashish Mishra (son of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra), the main accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri killings. On October 3, 2021 an SUV allegedly belonging to Mishra’s convoy had run over farmers returning from a rally protesting the three farm laws at Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh.
The Supreme Court bench also granted interim bail to four under-trial farmers accused by the UP police of lynching three men in the SUV that mowed down the farmers. The court has banned Mishra from entering Uttar Pradesh during the eight-week period of his interim bail. The Allahabad High Court had earlier rejected Mishra’s bail application.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) in a press statement has expressed shock and dismay at the granting of interim bail to Ashish Mishra, whom it held as the prime accused in the ghastly killing of four farmers and one journalist in broad daylight at Lakhimpur Kheri. SKM has all along been demanding swift punishment of culprits of Lakhimpur Kheri and removal of Ajay Mishra Teni from the Union Cabinet, both of which remain unfulfilled.
SKM in the press statement describing Ashish Mishra and his father Ajay Mishra as “a threat to society” said:
It is little consolation that the order stipulates that Mishra has to leave UP within 1 week of his release and he cannot stay in UP or NCT of Delhi. It is universally known that the minister had threatened to kill farmers who opposed him and the BJP government and the murder of farmers was a follow-through act of extreme and unproved violence. Mishra is a powerful politician affiliated to the ruling BJP and his release will greatly intimidate witnesses and jeopardise the trial. It may be kept in mind that the BJP led UP state govt was soft pedalling the arrest and charging of Ashish Mishra and ultimately the Supreme Court had to order independent investigation and action. It can only be imagined how Mishra on-the-loose will divert and pervert the course of justice.
SKM expressed hope that the interim bail to Asish Mishra will not be extended further, and demanded grant of permanent bail to the farmers along with withdrawal of false cases lodged against them by the UP police.
Meanwhile, SKM is preparing for a massive mobilisation of farmers on 26 January all over the country. Tractor marches and programs will be held in at least 20 states covering 300 Districts on the Republic Day. Farmer Unions will pay homage to all the Kisan Martyrs who lost their lives in the historic struggle of farmers against the anti-farmer Union Govt of India. A huge Kisan Mahapanchayat will be held at Jind in Haryana on the same day. In a strong show of Kisan Unity the Mahapanchayat will announce the future course of action by the SKM. The Mahapanchayat will send a resolute message against fascist, communal forces attacking the Indian Constitution and democracy, while also raising issues of farmers.