Another key Witness in Lakhimpur Kheri Case Attacked
Image Courtesy: Millennium Post
Lucknow: Another key witness in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, in which eight people lost their lives, was allegedly attacked on Sunday at Bilaspur in Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Hardeep Singh, 35, alleged that Mehar Singh Dayol, district general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and Saranbjeet Singh, along with three others, had allegedly hit him on the face with the butt of his pistol. He sustained severe injuries.
The family believes this was in retaliation to Hardeep recording his statement before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra is named accused in the case.
Hardeep was present at Tikonia on the day when four farmers were mowed down by SUVs. He was injured by the exact vehicle that allegedly ran over the four farmers. He is a prime witness in this case. Despite repeated appeals to the district administration about his life being in danger, he was not provided with any security.
“I was on the way from Bilaspur to Nawabganj with my friend Satinder Singh, and suddenly, was stopped by Mehar Singh Dayol who, accompanied by four others, threatened me with dire consequences if I didn’t withdraw my name from the witness list. He also threatened to shoot me in my head the next time I go to record any statement against Ashish Mishra,” Hardeep wrote in his letter to the police officer of Bilaspur.
He also requested the concerned officers to provide him with adequate security and take necessary action against the accused, who have been allegedly attacking him and his brother.
“Hardeep could identify all four as they belong to the locality. After the attack, we immediately informed the police and tried to get an FIR registered against them on the charge of an attempt to murder. They are all aides of Mehar Singh Dayol,” said family members.
In a post shared on Twitter by advocate Prashant Bhushan, he said, “Another key witness Hardeep Singh in Lakhimpur Kheri was attacked in Bilaspur, Rampur.”
This is the second such attack on a key witness in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident of October 3 last year. Ashish Mishra and others allegedly mowed down four farmers and a journalist during a protest against the Centre’s now-repealed three agriculture laws.
Ashish and 13 others were booked under various charges. Ashish and his relative Virendra Shukla, are out on bail while the other accused are lodged in jail.
On March 11, advocate Bhushan informed the Supreme Court that there had been an attack on one of the protected witnesses in the Lakhimpur Kheri case on the evening of March 10, soon after the BJP won in the state with a thumping majority.
The witness, a farmer by profession, was on his way to unload sugarcane at a factory, and was attacked by a gunman.
The witness alleged in his complaint recorded in the FIR that his attackers had said: “Our Monu bhaiya (a seeming reference to accused Ashish Mishra) is out now; he is going to teach all of you a lesson."
These two attacks in broad daylight in the span of a month happened when Uttar Pradesh police recently claimed that it had provided security to 99 persons as well as the families of the deceased. However, farmers alleged they had not received any security
“A gunman each has been provided to witnesses whose statements were recorded before a magistrate,” Lakhhimpur Kheri Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Suman has said earlier.
Farmers, who are witnesses in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, have alleged that they have not been given security cover. This is despite the Supreme Court (SC) directing the Uttar Pradesh government to grant protection to witnesses in the high-profile case, in which Ashish Mishra is the main accused.
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