UP: Village Head & His Associates Open Fire On Adivasi Farmers, Kill 10
In Umbha village of Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district, ten people including three women were killed on July 17 after the village Pradhan led men shot fired at the tribal farmers. At least 24 have been injured after over 200 people belonging to Gujjar communities came on a truck and opened fire on Gond community people over a disputed piece of land which previously belonged to a trust linked to an IAS officer, reported The Indian Express.
As of now, Police have arrested 26 people involved in the incident, including the village pradhan – Yaghya Dutt Bhuriya, his two elder brothers, and two nephews. Sonbhadra SP Salmantaj Jafertaj Patil said that pradhan along with his six family members are the main accused.
According to the eyewitnesses, this was the third attempt of the village pradhan to grab the land and bring it back to his community over the past two years. NDTV reported that Yaghya Dutt had brought nearly 200 men on 32 tractors all armed to take possession of the land.
A person who witnessed the gruesome killing told NDTV that Yaghya’s men started firing at the farmers. He said, “Once people started falling on the ground, they started hitting them with lathis. It was a plain horror.”
Basant Lal, whose nephew was injured in the shooting told The Indian Express that after Yaghya’s men arrived on the field, they were asked to wait for the court order to settle the matter. However, pradhan’s group started firing at the farmer group.
The dispute between the villagers and the chief pertains to a 36-acre land. The tribals have cultivated the land for several decades. Initial investigation revealed that the tribals do not have ownership titles of the land. However, the village chief has claimed that he had bought the land ten years ago.
Sonbhadra District Magistrate Ankit Kumar Agarwal referring to the revenue record said that the land was earlier registered to Adarsh Krishi Sahkari Samiti, which allowed the farmers to rent it and farm. However, in 1990, the ownership of the land was passed to two individual, who later sold it to three others, including the pradhan. The two former owners of the land are the wife and mother of an IAS officer.
After the killing, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of bereaved families. He also asked the District Magistrate to submit a report on why the land ownership was not given to the residents. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was detained by UP police after she sat for dharna for not allowing her to meet the families of killed.