Opposition latches on to Sonbhadra tribal killings

Opposition latches on to Sonbhadra tribal killings

Villagers gather at the site where 10 people were gunned down over a property dispute in Sonbhadra district. (PTI Photo)

Down in the dumps after crushing defeat in Lok Sabha polls, Opposition parties have latched on to the killings of 10 Gond tribals in Sonbhadra to browbeat the BJP in the most populous state of the country that sends 80 Lok Sabha MPs to Parliament.

As Yogi Adityanath government on Friday detained Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, preventing her from visiting Sonbhadra, she alleged “cover-up” while her party general secretary (organization) K C Venugopal called her detainment “autocratic”. He also issued missives to the state units of the party to carry out protests.

Following suit, Trinamool Congress, which has no political presence in Uttar Pradesh, chose to send a delegation to Sonbhadra. They were denied permission to proceed after landing in Varanasi on Saturday, but they met those injured in the Sonbhadra incident in a Varanasi hospital. They slammed the BJP for not letting them meet the “grieving families of tribals massacred over land rights”.

Reading “political intentions” behind these visits, the BJP reminded Priyanka that section 144 was in force and "no one should do politics on sensitive issues.”

BSP chief Mayawati, however, hit out at the BJP saying it was misusing section 144 to hide its shortcomings and not letting anyone visit the village.

AICC communication department chief Randeep Surjewala said, “we will take every measure needed to ensure justice for victims of Sonbhadra massacre where prima facie it is apparent that Adityanath government is shielding the guilty and punishing actually those who are victims of this massacre.”

Though Surjewala said that his party does not look at this entire episode from the prism of politics, he also reminded how Indira Gandhi in September 1977 visited Belchhi village in Patna after the killing of 11 persons including eight Dalits.

Releasing a photo of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra surrounded by Congress supporters in darkness, Congress leader Jitin Prasada tweeted “arrested, detained in a place without electricity and water only because she wanted to reach out to the victims of the Sonbhadra tragedy.”