Uttar Pradesh Police have decided to invoke provisions of the National Security Act against the accused in last week’s shooting in Umbha village in Sonbhadra district in which 10 Adivasi farmers were killed, The Indian Express reported on Monday. The police have arrested 29 and are on the lookout for 17 people.
Fourteen tractors and five licenced weapons, allegedly used in the shootout, have been seized. A police officer said the weapons belonged to village head Yaghya Dutt Bhuriya, who is the primary accused, and his family. The police also recovered 10 empty cartridges, which have been sent for examination, and nearly 45 bamboo sticks.
“We are collecting details about owners of the seized tractors and how the accused got them,” said Superintendent of Police Salmantaj Jafertaj Patil. “The five weapons seized were used in the crime.” Dutt was arrested along with his siblings Dev Dutt, Dharmendra Dutt, and Nidhi Dutt, and his nephews Ganesh and Vimlesh last Thursday.
District revenue officials will assist investigators as the conflict was triggered by a land dispute. The forest department also decided to review records after reports suggested that the disputed land used to be a forest area.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Adityanath also said that the accused would be booked under the National Security Act, Hindustan reported. The chief minister made the comment during his meeting with the victims’ families on Sunday. After the meeting, he accused accused the Congress and the Samajwadi Party for the incident.
Adityanath called the incident “a very big political conspiracy”, saying that the foundations were laid in 1955 when the disputed land was transferred to a trust. “In 1989, Congress government in UP transferred the land [back] to individual members,” he said. The chief minister assured the families that stringent action would be taken against Dutt, who, he alleged, was “an active member of the Samajwadi Party”.
On Thursday, a day after the incident, the Uttar Pradesh Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Commission had asked the state government to invoke the National Security Act and the Gangster Act against those involved in the incident. It had also appealed for action against officials for their negligence, News18 reported.