"Only Words, No Action": Supreme Court Slams UP On Farmers' Killing: 10 Points

Lakhimpur Violence: "We are not satisfied with the action taken by the UP government so far. We expect responsible government and police. The allegations are very serious, including gunshot injuries," Chief Justice NV Ramana said during the hearing.

Lakhimpur: Eight people died in the UP district on Sunday.

New Delhi: Law must take its course against "whoever is involved", the Supreme Court said today as it came down heavily on the UP government over the Lakhimpur violence amid countrywide outrage. "We are not satisfied with the action so far," the court said.

Here are 10 developments in this big story:

  1. "What is the message that you are sending? Even in normal circumstances... will the police not go immediately and arrest the accused. Things have not proceeded the way they should have. It appears to be only words and not actions," Chief Justice NV Ramana said in a sharp rebuke. Lawyer Harish Salve, representing the UP government, admitted, "I agree that enough has not been done."

  2. Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son, Ashish, is an accused in the murder case. Farmers have said in an FIR that he drove into a gathering of demonstrators amid a peaceful black flag protest on Sunday - eight were killed, including four farmers.

  3. Ashish Mishra is yet to be arrested and earlier today, he skipped questioning in the case. The Union Minister has said his son was not well, and will record his statement tomorrow. Lawyer Shiv Kumar Tripathi, petitioner in the case, said, "The top court's comments were much-needed. It took the UP government so long to even send summons to the accused. I hope the court directions will make them change their ways."

  4. "Treat the accused the same way we treat other persons in other cases," the Chief Justice said today. "Hear the matter after court reopens. If there is not enough progress by then then transfer to CBI," Mr Salve told the court.

  5. To this, the Chief Justice replied, "Mr Salve we have respect for you. We hope the state will take necessary steps. Due to the sensitivity of the issue, we are not making comments. CBI is not a solution, for reasons known to you... because of the persons... better some other person looks into (this), We will take up the issue after courts reopen (post Dussehra). The authorities must act."

  6. The state government - which was questioned on Thursday about the arrests in the case - submitted a status report today, underlining that it "is taking all steps to ensure a free and fair investigation." Two people have been arrested in the case, the court was told.

  7. Calling the Lakhimpur violence "extremely unfortunate", the UP government said, "another FIR (has been filed) on allegations that the protesting and rioting farmers killed four persons." Families of the farmers who died have been given Rs 45 lakh by the state government, the report said.

  8. "We have seen the details of the SIT (Special Investigation Team). You have DIG, Superintendent of Police, circle officers. All these are local people. This is what happens when all are local people," the Chief Justice said today.

  9. On the death of a farmer, who protesters have alleged was shot during the violence, Mr Salve today told the court: "Post-mortem did not show any bullet wounds. The manner in which the car was driven, the allegations are true. It is possibly 302 (section of murder)."

  10. Chief Justice Ramana said, "We expect responsible government and police. The allegations are very serious including gunshot injuries". When Justice Hima Kohli asked Mr Salve: "Possibly (a murder case)?", he replied, "I said possibly because I don't want the accused to say tomorrow that I made up my mind even before he appeared. Evidence is strong. If evidence is true then its Section 302."