A probe after prodding: On Lakhimpur Kheri violence

U.P. police must do a credible probe to inspire public confidence in farmers’ killing case

What is known so far is that vehicles in the Minister’s convoy ploughed through a group of farmers, causing four deaths. Three others may have died in retaliatory violence by the infuriated mob, while Raman Kashyap, a television reporter, may also have been run over. Initial reports that the driver lost control after being hit by a hail of stones have been superseded by footage that seems to show the vehicle being driven into a group of unsuspecting people. The FIR says Ashish Mishra was in one of the cars, even though he claims to have been elsewhere. The role of the Union Minister should also be subjected to scrutiny, as some reports suggest he may have made a provocative speech earlier to the effect that the protesting farmers should either mend their ways or he would set them straight. The mention of a ‘conspiracy’ in the FIR gives scope to the police to examine this angle. It is regrettable that the Union government is noticeably silent, and there appears to be no effort to advise Mr. Ajay Mishra to step down until his and his son’s names are cleared. It is difficult to see how an impartial probe can go on as long as he is in office, and his party’s government in the State is seen to be soft on the accused. The onus is on the Uttar Pradesh police now to conduct a credible investigation, if the Court does not replace the present set of investigators.

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