Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, UP government standoff now ends

New Delhi: The standoff between Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the Uttar Pradesh government ended on Saturday, a day after she was detained when she insisted on going to Sonbhadra where 10 people were gunned down this week.

Gandhi headed back to Delhi after a meeting with some people from Sonbhadra who travelled to the Mirzapur guesthouse where she had stayed overnight, refusing an offer from local administration to furnish a personal bond and leave.

She said those who had “arrested” her and brought her to the Chunar guesthouse were now saying she is free to leave. “I want to tell them that I have fulfilled my objective. I met the family members. I am leaving today, but I shall return,” she told party workers who thronged the guesthouse.

UP Congress leader Ajay Rai said, "The standoff between Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi and the Mirzapur district administration is over as she has met members of the aggriev-ed families from Sonbhadra."

Rai said she met 15 people from the victims' families, including seven women. Ten people, all Gond tribals, were shot dead Wednesday when a village headman, Yagya Dutt, and his supporters allegedly opened fire in an attempt to take possession of a piece of land in Ubbha village in Sonbhadra's Ghorawal area. Twenty-eight others were injured.

After the meeting with the villagers, Priyanka left for Varanasi, where she visited the Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav temples. The deadlock ended amid a show of solidarity in the Congress for Gandhi, who is the general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, with party leaders calling her detention “illegal arrest" and organising protests at several places.

BSP chief Mayawati on Saturday alleged that the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh was using Section 144 to hide its shortcomings and not allowing anyone to visit Sonbhadra, where 10 people were gunned down this week.

Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) empowers an executive magistrate to prohibit an assembly of more than four persons in an area.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader's remarks comes on a day a TMC delegation was detained at the Varanasi airport when it was going to meet the victims' families in Sonbhadra.

In a related development, a relative of the main accused in the Sonbhadra clash was arrested from Varanasi, a senior police official said Saturday.

Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday announced that Congress will pay Rs 10 lakh each as compensation to next of kin of those killed in the Sonbhadra firing and demanded that the Uttar Pradesh government should pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh each.

On Facebook, Rahul Gandhi slammed the action against Also, Robert Vadra on Saturday lauded his wife and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for meeting family members of the Sonbhadra clash victims.

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