Lakhimpur incident: SC asks UP govt to give protection to witnesses
New Delhi/UNI: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to provide protection to witnesses in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.
The order was passed by a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, during the hearing of arguments from the state government and other parties in a public interest litigation.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for the UP government, said 16 accused have been identified and action has been taken against them.
His statement was recorded by the court, which posted the matter for further hearing to November 8.
During the proceedings, the court sought separate status reports from the state government on the killing of journalist Raman Kashyap, and accused Shyam Sundar in the case.
Sundar's wife, Ruby Devi, submitted that she named three persons in connection with her husband's killing, but the police has not registered an FIR till date.
The court asked the forensic labs concerned to expedite the process of submission of evidence, while expressing surprise that out of the 4000-5000 people who gathered at the spot, only 20 witnesses have so far recorded their statement under 164 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure).
Section 164 gives power to a magistrate to record confession of an accused and statements of witnesses before the commencement of the trial.
After initially stating that none of the eyewitnesses, whose statements were recorded, was injured, corrected himself, saying three to four of them were injured.
The court also directed the state government to preserve all the material evidence.
The bench had earlier converted a letter by two lawyers in connection with the incident into a PIL.
Eight people were killed in Lakhimpur on Oct 3.