Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

Sonbhadra: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday met the families of Gond tribals killed in a clash here over a land dispute four days ago and announced several steps including enhanced compensation and time-bound completion of inquiry. In a scathing attack, Adityanath accused Congress of shedding "crocodile tears" over the Sonbhadra land dispute incident and said people are suffering due to the party's "sins".

"This is a big political conspiracy and an example of hooliganism (by Congress) in 1955. At that time, the land was transferred to a trust created by a Congress MLC. The party that is shedding crocodile tears should apologise to the people. They are suffering today because of Congress' sins," Adityanath told reporters after meeting with family members of the victims at Umba village in Sonbhadra district. He reiterated that strict action will be taken by the state government against those who are responsible for the incident. Adityanath informed that ex gratia of Rs 18.5 lakh will be given to the kin of the deceased and Rs 2.5 lakh to the injured from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund under SC and ST provisions.

"The government has ordered to suspend police personnel responsible for the incident. Today, I have ordered to provide compensation of Rs. 18.5 lakh to the bereaved families of the deceased and Rs. 2.5 lakh to the injured from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund under SC and ST provisions," he said. The Chief Minister told media here that orders have been given for establishing a new police station in the area and a new fire station at Ghorawal. "I had the opportunity to meet the villagers in Ubbha and the injured persons at the hospital and they complained about bullying by the village headman, hearing this, we have given orders to build a new police station in the area. We have also ordered the construction of a fire station at Ghorawal," he said.

In addition, two committees have been formed in the aftermath of the incident chaired by the Chief Secretary to investigate the alleged land dispute. "For the whole Sonbhadra district, another committee will be formed under the chairperson of revenue department to investigate all land-related cases," he said.

Earlier in the day, Adityanath met the family members of the victims and handed over a cheque of Rs 50,000 each to those injured in the incident. At least ten people including women were killed, while over 20 sustained injuries when a village headman and his associates allegedly opened fire at a group of people over a land dispute at Ubbha village in Ghorawal area in Sonbhadra district on July 17. The incident took place when the village headman went to take possession of his land purchased two years ago.

Twenty-nine people have been arrested and four officials have been suspended in connection with the incident. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who met the victims' families after a high voltage political drama, also announced Rs 10 lakh to each of the families who lost their near ones in the firing. Priyanka's visit had upped the temperature of the state politics after she was stopped from visiting the bereaved families and was put in detention in a guest house in the adjacent Mirzapur district.

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