Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was stopped on her way to a village in Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh on Friday, met two relatives of the victims of a shootout on Saturday, ANI reported.
“Two relatives of victims have come here to meet me, 15 others are not being allowed to meet me,” she told ANI. “Even I am not being allowed to meet them. God knows what their [government’s] mentality is. You [the media] put some pressure [on the government], let the victims meet me. The administration should help these people.”
Gandhi had spent the night sitting on a dharna at a guest house in Mirzapur, NDTV reported. Senior government officials met the Congress leader late at night to hold talks, but Gandhi refused to leave without meeting the families affected by a shootout in the village that killed 10 people.
“UP Government sent Varanasi ADG Brish Bhushan, Varanasi Commissioner Deepak Agrawal, DIG Mirzapur to tell me that I should leave without meeting the affected families,” Gandhi said in a tweet early on Saturday. “They are sitting here since the last one hour. They have not explained why they have taken me in custody, they have also not handed me any papers.”
“According to my lawyers, my arrest is illegal in all ways,” Gandhi added. “They have passed on the government’s message to me that I can’t meet the affected families. I told them clearly that I did not come here to break any laws but came only to meet the affected families. I have told them I won’t go without meeting the affected families.”
Gandhi also tweeted a video of the officials leaving the guesthouse. “I can go to the village alone,” she said according to the Hindustan Times. She alleged that the Uttar Pradesh government is protecting land sharks and oppressing the poor.
Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said the Adityanath government does not want anybody to wipe the victims’ tears, ANI reported. “Whatever has happened is unconstitutional and undemocratic and it seems as if Uttar Pradesh government has implemented undeclared emergency to hide its sins and shortcomings,” he added.
Meanwhile, a three-member Parliamentary delegation of the Trinamool Congress, led by Derek O’Brien attempted to visit Sonbhadra on Saturday. However, they were stopped from doing so. Subsequently, the delegation sat on a dharna at Varanasi Airport, ANI reported. The Trinamool Congress tweeted a video of O’Brien’s dharna from the airport.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is also expected to join Gandhi.
On Friday, Congress workers on the dharna with Gandhi claimed that the district administration had deliberately cut off power to the guest house, in order to force her out. Gandhi had earlier in the day been taken into preventive custody.
Ten villagers were killed and at least 19 were injured when a village head and his supporters fired at them over a land dispute in Ubha village in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. The attack on the villagers from the Gond community was carried out by people belonging to the Gujjar community. At least 26 people, including village head Yaghya Dutt Bhuriya, had been arrested till July 19.