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Killing of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri was a 'planned conspiracy', says SIT

The probe team urges CJM to replace lesser charges with attempt to murder

[File] Violence broke out in Lakhimpur Kheri after protesting farmers were run over by a speeding vehicle | PTI [File] Violence broke out in Lakhimpur Kheri after protesting farmers were run over by a speeding vehicle | PTI

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, which claimed eight lives, has urged the chief judicial magistrate to replace lesser charges in the case like causing death by negligence with attempt to murder, saying that it was a "pre-planned conspiracy causing death".

The SIT urged the CJM to replace IPC sections 279 (rash driving/riding), 338 (causing grievous injuries by negligence) and 304A (causing death by a rash and negligent act) with IPC section 307 (attempt to murder) among others in the case related to the October 3 violence, in which four farmers were among those killed.

The SIT retained IPC sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

It also recommended promulgation of IPC 326 (voluntarily causing injuries by dangerous weapons), 34 (acts by several persons with common intentions) and sections 3/25/30 of the Arms Act in warrants of the 13 accused.

The accused have been arrested in connection with FIR number 219 which pertains to the death of the four farmers and a local journalist in Tikunia.

Senior Prosecution Officer (SPO) SP Yadav on Tuesday told PTI, "Chief Investigator of the SIT Vidyaram Diwakar, probing Tikunia violence, moved an application in the court of CJM Chinta Ram stating the probe and evidence gathered so far established that the violence leading to the death of five people and injuries to several others was not an act of negligence or carelessness."

"The chief investigator stated in his application that the act was a pre-planned conspiracy, causing death, owing to which the earlier IPC sections in the FIR namely sections 279, 338 and 304A were dropped and IPC sections 307, 326, 34 and sections 3/25/30 of the Arms Act were added," Yadav said.

He said the chief investigating officer urged the court to rectify the warrants of the 13 accused who are in judicial custody.

The court instructed the accused to be present in the court on Tuesday to incorporate the changes in the IPC sections in their warrants, the SPO said.

The violence in Tikunia that broke out when a group of farmers was protesting the visit of UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to Union minister Ajay Mishra's native place had left four farmers, a local journalist, two BJP workers and a driver dead and several injured.

Two FIRs were lodged in this connection. 

The first FIR, number 219/2021, was lodged by farmer Jagjeet Singh in connection with the deaths of farmers and a journalist in which he implicated Ashish Mishra alias Monu, the son of the Union minister, and 15 to 20 others.

The second FIR, number 220/221, was lodged by BJP worker Sumit Jaiswal in connection with the death of two party workers and a driver, in which he implicated unidentified miscreants.

The UP government had formed a nine-member SIT to investigate both the cases. The SIT was later reconstituted by the Supreme Court.

The special investigators, while investigating the violence, had identified and arrested 13 people in FIR number 219, including Ashish Mishra, Sumit Jaiswal, Ankit Das and others, while in FIR number 220, four people were identified and arrested. 

All the accused are in judicial custody.

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