Yogi govt says Ashish Mishra not a ‘flight risk’, farmers say govt defending accused

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The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday told the Supreme Court that Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, who is accused of running over farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, is ‘not a flight risk’.

The Uttar Pradesh government, represented by Mahesh Jethmalani, was responding to a petition by families of the farmers killed in the October 3, 2021 violence, challenging the bail granted to Mishra by the Allahabad High Court.

Asserting that the offence is ‘grave’, the state government told the court that ‘no words are enough’ to condemn it.

It also maintained that it had ‘vehemently’ opposed the bail in the high court.

However, Ashish Mishra is not a ‘flight risk’ and security has been provided to the witnesses to ensure there is no tampering, the Uttar Pradesh government added.

The state government’s posture on the issue has expectedly angered the farmers who have been accusing the government of shielding Ashish Mishra.

Gursevwak Singh, elder brother of Gurwinder Singh, who was one of the four farmers who died, said, “It is because of this that we have been demanding that the case should be transferred to Delhi. We all know that the proceedings are being influenced here. No action was taken against the union minister despite his video threatening farmers having gone viral. The UP government’s attitude is different when it comes to criminals who are from their own party. There is no scope of justice in UP. That is evident from the way an eyewitness was thrashed and his case was closed by the local police.”

Satnam Singh, the father of 19-year-old Lovepreet Singh, who was killed in the violence, said, “Despite having all the evidence, we sometimes think that we are fighting a lost battle. We all know that the state is trying to save the accused and the proof is now out in the open. The minister is openly giving statements saying he proved his ‘innocence’ by ensuring BJP’s win in Lakhimpur Kheri.”

Jagdeep Singh, son of Nachattar Singh, who was seen tossed in the air by the speeding SUV, said, “There is no way we can get justice in UP. The main accused was given bail easily despite the SIT submitting evidence in court calling the incident ‘premeditated’ and ‘not an act of negligence’. The state government is now defending his bail. We are now going to approach the apex court to get the case transferred to Delhi or elsewhere to ensure justice for farmers.”

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