Earlier the police and media alleged Raman Kashyap was beaten to death by protesters after Ashish Mishra’s convoy ran over the protesting farmers.
On November 8, the Supreme Court took up the matter of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. The prime accused in the violence is Ashish Mishra, who is the son of Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Ajay Mishra. The violence claimed the lives of eight people – four farmers, two BJP workers, a driver and journalist Raman Kashyap, who worked for Sadhna News.
The Supreme Court expressed its dissatisfaction with the way the violence was being probed. During the hearing, the Bench – composed of Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli – underscored the fact that more than a month since the incident, the phones of the accused had not been seized and forensic lab reports of the videos had also not been presented.
Another concern that was expressed was the confusing manner in which journalist Raman Kashyap’s death was portrayed. Advocate Harish Salve representing the state of Uttar Pradesh said, “The journalist was killed, he was earlier thought to be with Ashish Mishra but then it was seen he was crushed by a car along with farmers.”
To this, the Bench stated that even though it was projected as if Raman Kashyap was beaten to death, it is clear that he was mowed down by the vehicles and not lynched.
False media reports and Police pressure
Among the eight dead, the death of seven people was ascertained quickly. Videos that emerged showed that four farmers died after being mowed down by the convoy of three vehicles owned by the Union Minister Ajay Mishra. The driver and the BJP workers were beaten to death by the farmers.
It was the cause of Raman Kashyap’s death that remained unclear.
On October 6, Kashyap’s family told Newslaundry that they were under immense pressure from the police and sections of the media to say that the journalist had been beaten up by farmers.
On October 5, while Raman Kashyap’s family awaited his post-mortem report, multiple media reports suggested that the journalist was beaten up by farmers. That same day, when Newslaundry visited the family, Raman Kashyap’s father accused an Aaj Tak reporter for repeatedly and falsely claiming that the post mortem, which had not yet been released, stated that Kashyap had been hit with sticks and lathis.
The father had told Newslaundry: “My son was not beaten up. I saw the body.” Pawan Kashyap, the deceased’s brother, also accused the UP Police of pressuring the family to claim that the journalist had been beaten up and not mowed down by the Union Minister’s car.
“Members of the BJP want to include my brother’s name in their FIR to show that an equal number of deaths happened on both sides,” he said. “Four farmers and four BJP workers will make the cross case equal and balanced. They want to use my brother for this balancing act.”
On November 8, Justice Kant of Supreme Court dispelled any doubts regarding Raman Kashyap’s death by clearly stating “That innocent journalist, cause of death was different than what was projected”. When advocate Harish Salve said “He was crushed by a car”, the judge did not fail to point out that “the impression given was he was beaten to death”.
“The Supreme court has given us some hope that our brother will get justice,” Pawan Kashyap told Newslaundry, after finding out about the advocate’s statement in court.