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Priyanka visits victims of Sonbhadra firing

Source: PTI
August 13, 2019 18:34 IST
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Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday visited the Sonbhadra village where 10 tribals were shot dead over a land dispute, nearly a month after the Uttar Pradesh administration prevented her from going to the site of the massacre by detaining her in Mirzapur. 

Priyanka Gandhi covered the distance from Varanasi to Umbha village in Sonbhadra district, about 100 kilometres apart, by road, prompting Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma to say she was pulling off a "political stunt". 

Shortly after arriving at the Varanasi airport on Tuesday morning, she tweeted, "Today, I am going to Sonbhadra to meet the brothers-sisters and children of Umbha village, enquire about their well-being and to be part of their struggle." 


"I had promised the members of affected families of Umbha village, who had come to meet me at Chunar Fort, that I will visit them," she said. 

Later, the UP Congress tweeted photographs of her reaching the village, where armed men led by a former village pradhan had gunned down 10 Gond tribals when they resisted an attempt to take control of the disputed land on July 17. 

Congress leaders said she will talk to the villagers and get a first-hand account of the steps taken by the state government for their security in the aftermath of the shooting.

Deputy Chief Minister Sharma, however, said Priyanka Gandhi should "repent" in Umbha.

"The root cause of the Sonbhadra incident can be traced to the Congress. She should go there to repent (paschataap) the act of former Congress leaders. After so many days, when action has already been initiated into the incident, this is only a political stunt," Sharma said.

On July 21, four days after the shooting incident, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had visited the area and he too had pinned the blame on the previous Congress dispensations for the land dispute, suggesting that it had been lingering on since 1952.

After Adityanath's visit, Priyanka Gandhi had said "acknowledging one's duty is good".

Two days before the chief minister's visit, she had tried to visit the village to meet the families of those affected by the shooting.

On way to the adjoining district, authorities stopped her in Mirzapur from proceeding further as section 144 of the CrPC was imposed in the village then due to tension in the area.

Her detention at the Chunar Fort triggered a standoff between her the state government.

She spent the night at the fort and met the members of the tribal community the next day. Before being detained, she had met at a Varanasi hospital the families of those injured.

Opposition parties had dubbed her detention as "undemocratic and unconstitutional".

Priyanka Gandhi had then said  took a jibe at the chief minister over his visit, saying "acknowledging one's duty is good".

'J&K special status scrapped in unconstitutional manner'

In her first reaction to the scrapping of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Tuesday said it was done in an unconstitutional manner.        

"The manner in which it has been done is totally unconstitutional and against the principles of democracy," she told reporters.

"There are rules that have to be followed when such things are done, which have not been followed," she said. The Congress general secretary said her party always stood for safeguarding the Constitution. 

"Unlike the BJP where only one voice is heard, in the Congress every voice is given importance and properly discussed to reach a conclusion," she said.

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