9 tribals killed in clash over land dispute

9 tribals killed in clash over land dispute

According to police sources, the toll could increase as many of the injured were in a critical condition. Two persons have been arrested in this connection, sources said. File photo

Nine members of a tribal community, including women, were killed and around two dozen others injured, some seriously, in a violent clash over land in Uttar Pradesh's tribal district of Sonbhadra, about 400 kilometres from here, on Wednesday.

According to police sources, the toll could increase as many of the injured were in a critical condition. Two persons have been arrested in this connection, sources said.

Sources said that the clash ensued when the 'pradhan' (panchayat chief) of Murtiya village in the district, who was accompanied by scores of armed goons, tried to take possession of around 200 'bighas' (a unit to measure the area of the agricultural field).

The tribals, who had been tilling the land for the past several years, resisted the 'pradhan' and his followers and allegedly pelted stones to keep them away.

Sources said that the 'pradhan' and his people, armed with guns, opened fire at the tribals killing eight of them on the spot. One person succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Eyewitnesses said that the tribals, before running away to safety, were cornered by the attackers. A few of them were also attacked with spears. "There is blood everywhere," said a local scribe, who visited the spot, while speaking to DH over the phone.

The injured were rushed to the community health centre at Ghorawal and the district hospital. Many of them were said to be in critical condition.

Senior officials and policemen are camping in the village. The situation was stated to be tense at the village, sources said.

The land in question was disputed and the 'pradhan' claimed he had purchased the same a few years ago, said sources. UP DGP Om Prakash Singh said that a high-level team of police officials would probe the incident.