VARANASI: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday reached Umbha village in UP's Sonbhadra district to meet the family members of the victims who were killed in the July 17 massacre over a land dispute.
Priyanka arrived in Varanasi this morning by air and then travelled by road to Umbha village.
Priyanka spent over an hour talking to the local people. She sought information about the lack of development in the region and assured them that the Congress would always stand by them. She also met the persons injured in the incident.
Security had been beefed up in the area in view of the Congress leader's visit.
In a massacre following a dispute over a 90-bigha piece of land, at least 10 Gond tribals were killed and over 26 injured by the village head Yagya Dutt and hundreds of his accomplices in Umbha village on July 17.
The village head and his aides had opened indiscriminate fire on the tribals who were resisting his attempt to take possession of the tribal's farm land. The gram panchayat land was illegally sold to the village head in 2017 and since then he had made several attempts to take its possession but failed.
चुनार के किले पर मुझसे मिलने आए उभ्भा गाँव के पीड़ित परिवारों के सदस्यों से मैंने वादा किया था कि मैं उनके गाँव आऊँगी।— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) August 13, 2019
आज मैं उभ्भा गाँव के बहनों-भाइयों और बच्चों से मिलने, उनका हालचाल सुनने-देखने, उनका संघर्ष साझा करने #सोनभद्र जा रही हूँ।
In the aftermath of the massacre, the state government had removed DM and SSP of the district and suspended over 15 officers initiating legal proceedings against them.
When Priyanka had attempted to visit the victims’ families after the incident, she was stopped at Mirzapur by the district administration and was detained at Chunar Guest House on July 19, as Section 144 of CrPC was in force then.
Refusing to leave without meeting the victim families, she had spent the night at the guest house and finally met some of the victim families who were brought to the guest house.
Following her visit, the Congress had sent Rs 10 lakh financial assistance to the 10 victim families. “Now she is coming to meet the victims once again. If the district administration feared law and order issues as the massacre had just taken place, there should be no reason to worry now. She will be visiting Umbha village where she will meet the families,” said a party functionary.
Earlier in the day, Priyanka stopped her car to meet a group of women who were standing by the roadside in Narayanpur village. Priyanka defied security concerns and her security had a hard time in maintaining order as she went into the crowd.
Narayanpura was the same village where she sat on a dharna on July 19 when police stopped her from going to meet the affected villagers.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said that Priyanka's visit to Sonbhadra was a "political stunt".
"She wants to provoke the people on the issue which has already been settled. The accused are in jail and the government has given compensation to the victims," he said.
BJP spokesman Chandra Mohan termed the Congress leader's visit as a "mere drama". He said, "This is a perfect example of petty politics and drama. The root cause of the entire issue was due to the Congress government in 1955."
(With inputs from Express News Service)