Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East) who was to visit Sonbhadra on Friday to meet the family members of those who were killed in firing over a land dispute on July 17, 2019, has been stopped on the way after Police imposed Section 144 in the area. The Congress secretary is now protesting in Mirzapur demanding that police should let her meet the victims’ kin.

As many as 11 people were killed, including three women, and 18 others sustained injuries on Wednesday when a village head and his supporters reportedly opened fire on a group of tribals over a dispute on a piece of land measuring 36 acres in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra. Reports said prime accused Yagya Dutt brought nearly 200 men on 32 tractor trolleys to take possession of the land. After the tribals opposed, the armed men fired at them. Primary investigation revealed the tribals occupied the land for decades without ownership titles.

All the deceased belonged to the Gond tribe. The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested 26 people in connection with Wednesday’s clash and a probe is still underway.

Demanding a compensation of Rs 50 lakh each for the families of the deceased, the Congress General Secretary had sent UP Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu to Sonbhadra to meet the family of victims on Thursday. Ajay Kumar and Congress Lok Sabha candidate from Mirzapur Lalitesh Pati Tripathi met the victims’ kin. Priyanka also assured the families to take up the issue in the Vidhan Sabha.

Ahead of her visit to Sonbhadra, she had also written a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath asking that her security be reduced while travelling in the state.

Samajwadi Party legislators are also holding a sit-in at Chowdhury Charan Singh statue in assembly premises ahead of the start of the Monsoon session of the state assembly while CM Yogi Adityanath has directed the DGP to personally monitor the case and ensure action against the culprits.

Speaking on Sonbhadra killing, Yogi Adityanath on Friday blamed the then Tehsildar for the land dispute. He said the foundation of this incident was laid in 1955 when the then Tehsildar did the unlawful act of registering the land of Gram Samaj in the name of Adarsh Cooperative society.

Meanwhile, the chorus is growing for Priyanka Gandhi to take charge as Congress president while the party is acing uncertainty after Rahul Gandhi’s resignation as party chief. Abhijit Mukherjee, who is the son of ex-president Pranab Mukherjee and ex-MP, has made an open plea in favour of Priyanka Gandhi.

About the author

Bijaya Das

Prince of Cuttack. King of covering politics. Prawn lover. Never speaks his mind lest he hurt anyone. Creatively uses humour to escape censure.