The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court may have granted bail to Ashish Mishra, an accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence last year, but it may take more time before he walks free.
A closer look at the order reveals that the court has not granted him bail on all the sections he has been charged with.
The charge sheet filed by the Lakhimpur Police in the court says that Mishra has been charged with offences under IPC section 147, 148, 149, 302, 307, 326, 34, 427 and 120 B, as well as section 3/25, 5/27 and 39 of the Arms Act.
However, the court order granted him bail for charges under IPC section 147 148, 149, 307, 326 and 427 along with section 34 and 30 of the Arms Act.
The bail order has no mention of the IPC section 302 and 120 B. The two sections pertain to murder and criminal conspiracy, respectively.
Ashish Mishra’s lawyer told reporters that he will most likely not be able to file bail bond for his client on Friday.
The lawyer said that he would file for a correction in the bail order to include IPC section 302 and 120 B. Only after the correction, will he file for the bail, the lawyer said.
On October 3 last year, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri during the violence that erupted when farmers were protesting against Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit to the area.
Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV. A driver and two BJP workers were then allegedly lynched by angry farmers.
A journalist also died in the violence that triggered outrage among opposition parties and farmer groups agitating over the Centre’s now-repealed farm laws.
Videos that triggered anger and shock showed an SUV ramming farmers and crushing them without breaking speed.
Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court has raised questions about some of the charges listed by the police against Ashish Mishra, including firing at protesters.
“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case in toto, it is evident that as per the FIR, the role of firing was assigned to the applicant (Ashish Mishra) for killing the protesters, but during the course of investigation, no such firearm injuries were found either on the body of any of the deceased or on the body of any injured person,” the court said.
The high court said it “could not shut its eyes to the killing of three persons in the Thar SUV, including the driver, who were killed by the protesters”.
Photographs “clearly revealed the brutality of the protesters”, the court said, naming those killed as Hari Om Mishra, Shubham Mishra and Shyam Sunder.
Stating that only four accused had been charged, the court said organisers of the protest must help investigators with giving details of others seen beating up the BJP workers.
The high court order to give bail to Ashish Mishra has created an uproar among opposition parties.
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal expressed displeasure, while Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra renewed her demand for the Minister’s resignation.
RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary hit out at the “system” that granted bail to Mishra. “What a system! Mowed down four farmers, got bail in four months,” he tweeted in Hindi.
BKU spokesperson Saurabh Upadhyay described the court order granting bail to the minister’s son as an “attack” on democracy.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra renewed the opposition demand that the accused’s father should resign.
“Everyone says our Prime Minister is a good man, then why did he not ask his minister to resign? Does he not have any moral responsibility towards the country?” she said at a poll meeting in Rampur.
“Today that man has got bail and soon, he will be roaming around openly — the man who mowed you down. But whom did the government save? Did it save the farmers? Where were the police and the administration when farmers were killed?” she asked.