Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday claimed Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had a role in the Wednesday’s massacre of 10 tribals in the Sonbhadra district, saying the seeds of the massacre were sown by Yogi on October 19, 2017. Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala told a Press conference in New Delhi it was on that day the Yogi Govt illegally bestowed the ownership of the land belonging to the poor tribals to village head Yagyadutt Bhurtiya. He gave a history of the anti-tribal buildup in the Umbha village since then and how the BJP government was trying to forcibly remove the tribals from their land since July 24, 2018.

Instead of booking those harassing the tribals to vacate the land under the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Surjewala said the police have been registering false cases of criminal intimidation, criminal trespass and other charges against the tribals all through 2018. Surjewala said the massacre on Wednesday was a fallout of the district authorities rejecting the tribals’ petition on July 6 this year on their ownership of the land. Not only 10 persons, including three women, were shot dead but 48 others were wounded in an assault by 200 armed persons who made a violent bid to take possession of the land, citing the latest order of July 6.

Surjewala welcomed Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s announcement of the Congress giving Rs10 lakh to the families of each victim killed after meeting some of them at Chunar guest house in Mirzapur district where she was detained since Friday. He also endorsed her demand the state government should provide `25 lakh to each family and ensure their security. He said the police turned the Umbha village into a chhawni (fortress) by not allowing anybody going in or out.

In a tweet, Priyanka said: “Finally met the families of the Ubbha massacre. What they have been through is unimaginably brutal and unjust. Every single Indian should stand with them in the name of humanity.” Surjewala said the Ubbha incident symbolises that organised crimes, murders, rapes and goondaism have become hallmark of the Yogi government.

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