Priyanka meets victims of Sonebhadra violence

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday reached Umbha village in UP’s Sonebhadra 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.

Ten people were killed and two dozen injured when armed men, led by the village head had clashed with members of the local Gond tribe in an attempt to take possession of a disputed plot of land.

Priyanka had tried to reach the village on July 19 to meet the victims but was denied permission by the local authorities since Section 144 was clamped in the area.

She was detained at the Chunar guest house for almost 24 hours. It was only after a group of villagers from the Umbha and Murtiya villages met her at the guest house that she returned to Delhi. She had promised the people of the village that she would return soon to meet them.

Priyanka had promised a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of the victims and the cheques were later distributed to them by a party delegation.

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 Sonebhadra 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.”