IANS/ Mirzapur (Uttar Pradesh)
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi remained in detention here yesterday, eight hours after she was driven to a guest house after she insisted on proceeding to Sonebhadra district in Uttar Pradesh where 10 people were killed in clashes over a land dispute on Wednesday.
She also described the killings of members of the Gond tribe as “massacre”.
According to party leaders, the Congress general secretary is firm on meeting the victims’ families. Congress legislator Lalitesh Pati Tripathi said that Priyanka was firm on going to the site where the killings took place in the clash between Gonds and Gujjars.
“Priyanka Gandhi was asked to fill a bail bond of Rs50,000, which she rejected, saying that even if she had to stay here for 10 days, she shall stay but she would not leave till the time she meets the family members of the victims. There is no question of any bail,” Tripathi said in a tweet.
According to the party leaders, the district administration has cut off the electricity and water supply to the guest house where Priyanka has been detained since the afternoon. No arrangements have been made for food either.
Priyanka was detained at the Chunar Guest House here after she was stopped from going to Murtiya village in Sonebhadra district. The police denied that she had been arrested.
The Congress leader arrived in Varanasi yesterday morning and met the injured persons admitted to the trauma centre of the Banaras Hindu University. When she proceeded towards Sonebhadra, her convoy was stopped on the Mirzapur border. A defiant Priyanka then squatted on the ground with the Congress workers and was later taken away in a government vehicle to Chunar.
She told reporters: “I don’t know where are they taking me. We are ready to go anywhere.” She asked the officials for written orders as to why she was being prevented from going to Sonebhadra. “I just want to meet the families of the victims. I am willing to take only four people with me because I do not want to defy the prohibitory orders and yet the district administration is not allowing us,” she complained.
At least 10 people, including three women, died and over 24 were injured in a clash between Gond and Gujjar communities over a land dispute in Sonebhadra on Wednesday.
Priyanka described the killings as a “massacre” and demanded Rs2.5mn as compensation to each of the deceased family.
Speaking to party supporters at the guest house, Priyanka said that atrocities were being carried out on tribals in the state. “They were killed because they were demanding their rights, they were fighting for their land,” she said.
Priyanka added that three days before Wednesday’s incident, the villagers had informed the police about the brewing tension in the area. “But the police did not pay heed to their complaints. They even did not take any action when such incidents were happening there,” she said.
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