The Supreme Court, in its order, directed the UP government to record statements of more witnesses, repeatedly asking why there were so few when thousands were supposedly present at the spot at the time. It also directed the UP government to grant protection to the witnesses in the case. The court made the observation while holding a suo motu hearing on the matter. The bench pointed out that the Special Investigation Team will have to identify the vulnerable witnesses and afford them protection and get their statements recorded under Section 164 CrPC, as it will have more evidentiary value. Senior advocate Harish Salve, for Uttar Pradesh, said the “first ring” of people close to the scene of the incident and those who saw the cars and the people inside these vehicles were among the 23. The Uttar Pradesh Government has filed a second status report on the investigation which said there were 23 eyewitnesses out of a total 68 witnesses. The statements of 30 of them have already been taken before the Magistrate.
During the hearing, the Supreme Court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file separate replies on the inquiry related to the killing of journalist Raman Kashyap and another person, identified as Shyam Sundar. The court also verbally asked forensic labs to expedite the procedure of submitting the reports related to the videos of the violence. The top court has rebuked the Uttar Pradesh government multiple times for lapses and delays in the investigation. The case will be heard next on November 8.