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Lakhimpur Kheri case: Third witness attacked, survives firing by goons

Singh said he let his security guard on leave without informing authorities

Sabrangindia 01 Jun 2022

Lakhimpur Kheri case

Despite repeated criticisms from the Supreme Court and the farming community, yet another Lakhimpur Kheri witness was shot at, multiple times, on the night of May 31, 2022. Speaking to SabrangIndia, Singh said that two people on bikes chased him and fired at the car. Singh had to stop the car when the bullet hit the tyre but refused to get out even after the accused shot two bullets into the windowpane.

According to Singh’s account, he folded his driver seat and hid in the car. The attackers who could not look through the darkened window fled the scene. Gola police said they are looking into the matter of the attack and have lodged an FIR under attempt to murder.

“Anything could have happened, it is condemnable that the goons are trying to attack us like this,” said Singh.

As for witness protection, Singh had sent his official gunman on leave after he received intimation of his child’s ill health. CO Rajesh Yadav said the local police would have arranged for a replacement if Singh had let them know earlier on.

“There’s also the question of how the police officer could have let the man unsupervised. We are looking into all these details as well. However, with the witnesses, we ensure that at least one personnel is there,” said Yadav.


Why was Dilbag Singh targeted?

Dilbag Singh was at the forefront of the farmer protest on October 3, 2021 at Tikonia village as he was the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Lakhimpur President. Singh has also presented himself as a key witness of the alleged incident of that day where the main-accused Ashish Mishra allegedly ran over protesting farmers with his Mahindra Thar vehicle. As many as eight people died during the incident that was dubbed a “planned” attack by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). Ashish, who is Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son, was arrested after many protests. However, he received bail even as the UP assembly elections were underway.

Since then, witnesses have reported attacks and threats to their life by local goons or BJP members. The latest in this series of attacks occurred on Tuesday when Singh was returning from Aliganj-Muda road in Gola Kotwali.

The protection of Lakhimpur Kheri witnesses has become a crucial issue. The attack on Singh is already the third attack since March when the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh ended. Diljot Singh was assaulted on the intervening night between March 10 and March 11 by 10 men allegedly from the BJP. Rampur’s Hardeep Singh recounted how in April BJP District Secretary Mehar Singh Dayol, BJP member Saranbjeet Singh and three others allegedly hit his head with the butt of his licensed gun.

In all these cases, the witnesses were threatened not to give their statements against Mishra. For this reason, farmers' umbrella body Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has repeatedly asked that Mishra’s father be removed from his post in the Union Cabinet to allow for a fair trial. Even the Supreme Court ordered the state government to provide security to witnesses. However, the status quo in Lakhimpur Kheri remains the same.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra criticised the state government for a “bullet raj” in an effort to cover up the Kheri massacre.

 

 

Lakhimpur Kheri case: Third witness attacked, survives firing by goons

Singh said he let his security guard on leave without informing authorities

Lakhimpur Kheri case

Despite repeated criticisms from the Supreme Court and the farming community, yet another Lakhimpur Kheri witness was shot at, multiple times, on the night of May 31, 2022. Speaking to SabrangIndia, Singh said that two people on bikes chased him and fired at the car. Singh had to stop the car when the bullet hit the tyre but refused to get out even after the accused shot two bullets into the windowpane.

According to Singh’s account, he folded his driver seat and hid in the car. The attackers who could not look through the darkened window fled the scene. Gola police said they are looking into the matter of the attack and have lodged an FIR under attempt to murder.

“Anything could have happened, it is condemnable that the goons are trying to attack us like this,” said Singh.

As for witness protection, Singh had sent his official gunman on leave after he received intimation of his child’s ill health. CO Rajesh Yadav said the local police would have arranged for a replacement if Singh had let them know earlier on.

“There’s also the question of how the police officer could have let the man unsupervised. We are looking into all these details as well. However, with the witnesses, we ensure that at least one personnel is there,” said Yadav.


Why was Dilbag Singh targeted?

Dilbag Singh was at the forefront of the farmer protest on October 3, 2021 at Tikonia village as he was the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Lakhimpur President. Singh has also presented himself as a key witness of the alleged incident of that day where the main-accused Ashish Mishra allegedly ran over protesting farmers with his Mahindra Thar vehicle. As many as eight people died during the incident that was dubbed a “planned” attack by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). Ashish, who is Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son, was arrested after many protests. However, he received bail even as the UP assembly elections were underway.

Since then, witnesses have reported attacks and threats to their life by local goons or BJP members. The latest in this series of attacks occurred on Tuesday when Singh was returning from Aliganj-Muda road in Gola Kotwali.

The protection of Lakhimpur Kheri witnesses has become a crucial issue. The attack on Singh is already the third attack since March when the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh ended. Diljot Singh was assaulted on the intervening night between March 10 and March 11 by 10 men allegedly from the BJP. Rampur’s Hardeep Singh recounted how in April BJP District Secretary Mehar Singh Dayol, BJP member Saranbjeet Singh and three others allegedly hit his head with the butt of his licensed gun.

In all these cases, the witnesses were threatened not to give their statements against Mishra. For this reason, farmers' umbrella body Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has repeatedly asked that Mishra’s father be removed from his post in the Union Cabinet to allow for a fair trial. Even the Supreme Court ordered the state government to provide security to witnesses. However, the status quo in Lakhimpur Kheri remains the same.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra criticised the state government for a “bullet raj” in an effort to cover up the Kheri massacre.

 

 

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