Sonbhadra carnage was planned, death toll reaches 10

Police have so far arrested 25 persons, sources said adding that over 50 people have been booked in connection with the violence that also left around two dozen others injured, some seriously. (Image Courtesy: ANI/Twitter)

An eerie silence prevailed at Umbha village under Murtiya 'gram panchayat' in Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra district, about 400 kilometres from here, a day after the killing of ten people, all hailing from a tribal community, in a violent clash over a land dispute.

Police have so far arrested 25 persons, sources said adding that over 50 people have been booked in connection with the violence that also left around two dozen others injured, some seriously.

The entire village has been turned into a fortress with security personnel patrolling its lanes. Senior police officials were also camping at the village.

The clash had 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) of land.

Sources said that the attack on the tribal tillers had been planned well in advance. ''Around 200 people, armed with guns, spears and lathis, had reached the village riding on 32 tractor-trolley.

The tribals, who had been tilling the land for the past several years, tried to stop the 'pradhan' and his goons from taking possession of the land but they opened fire.

Eyewitnesses said that the attackers had surrounded the villagers leaving them no way to run to safety and making them sitting ducks. They said that dead bodies were scattered in the fields.

Sources said that the dispute over the land had been simmering for the past several years and earlier also the 'pradhan', identified as Yagyadutt Bhurtia, had tried to forcibly take possession of the land.

The massacre of tribals reverberated in the UP legislative council also on Thursday with the opposition members cornering the government on the issue.

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