UP cops prevent Priyanka Gandhi’s Sonbhadra visit; Rahul says ‘BJP insecure’

UP cops prevent Priyanka Gandhi’s Sonbhadra visit; Rahul says ‘BJP insecure’
UP cops prevent Priyanka Gandhi’s Sonbhadra visit; Rahul says ‘BJP insecure’

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was on Friday stopped by police in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district while on her way to meet the families of those killed in a shooting over a land dispute on Wednesday.

A village head and his supporters allegedly opened fire on a rival group over a land dispute in Ghorawal police station area, killing 10 people, including three women, and leaving 19 injured on Wednesday. The dead belonged to the Gond tribe.

“They can do whatever they want, we will not be cowed down. We were going peacefully to meet the victims’ families. I don’t know where are they taking me, we are ready to go anywhere,” she was quoted as saying by news agency Asian News International.

Reacting to the development Congress leader and Priyanka Gandhi’ brother Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The illegal arrest of Priyanka in Sonbhadra, UP, is disturbing. This arbitrary application of power, to prevent her from meeting families of the 10 Adivasi farmers brutally gunned down for refusing to vacate their own land, reveals the BJP Govt’s increasing insecurity in UP.

Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi accused officials of not letting her meet the victims’ families. She also met those who were injured in the firing.

“Just want to go and meet families of victims. I even said will take only four people with me. Yet, the administration is not letting us go there. They should tell us why we are being stopped. We will continue to sit here peacefully,” Priyanka Gandhi said.

Uttar Pradesh director general of police (DGP) OP Singh said on Wednesday the 90 bighas of land in contention once belonged to an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who sold it to village head Yagya Dutt about two years ago. Dutt wanted to take possession of the land.

Opposition parties have attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh over the incident. They said the shootout reflected the law and order situation in the state.

“The confidence of criminals in the BJP-ruled state is so high that people are constantly being killed in broad day-light. The killing of nine Gond tribesmen, including 3 women, by the land mafia in Umbha village of Sonbhadra has rattled me. The administration and chief minister are all sleeping. Is this how the state will be crime-free?” Priyanka Gandhi had tweeted in Hindi on Wednesday after the incident.

Mineral-rich Sonbhadra, about 400km from the state capital, is the second-largest district in Uttar Pradesh and has several power plants and is sometimes called the country’s “energy capital”.

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