Only six accused — Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit, Major (retired) Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sameer Kulkarni — appeared before the court on Monday. Sudhakar Dwivedi was not present and his lawyer cited religious rituals as the reason for his inability to attend court, and sought exemption from appearance
The ATS officer was summoned to appear before the special court on Monday, but did not turn up, claiming that there was a law-and-order situation in the area where he stayed and it was unsafe for him to leave. This was the second time when the officer failed to turn up before the court pursuant to summons issued to him.
BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, better known as Sadhvi Pragya, stoked controversy when she said that Hindus have the right to respond to those who attack them and called on the community to at least keep sharp knives in their homes.