Bhim Army chief gives cops a slip, reaches Sonebhadra

Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar ‘Azad’ defied all police arrangements and quietly sneaked in the Umbha village in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday to meet the victims of the July 17 carnage.

Chandra Shekhar later told reporters that the villagers belonging to the Gond tribal community were being threatened even days after the carnage and hence, they should either be given security cover or arms license to protect themselves.

“I had to sneak into the village on a motorbike to meet my people. Had the administration known about my visit to Umbha, it would not have let me come here and meet the families of the victims. The information being circulated that firing took place from both sides is completely false. No villager has any firearm or license,” he said.

Chandra Shekhar announced that his Bhim Army will help the victims in whatever way possible. “We will fight their cases and bring the culprits to justice.

“It is also a fact that 300 people had come to the village and most of them were armed. The administration should also reveal how many firearms were seized and how many tractor-trolleys used in the incident have been recovered.

“People from the village who are speaking to the administration in favour of the victims are being threatened. I demand the government provide them with security or at least arms license.”

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who had earlier blamed the Congress for laying the foundation of the land dispute in 1955 that led to the killing of 10 people last week, has now pointed towards a nexus between the accused and the Samajwadi Party.

The SP leadership has slammed the Chief Minister for linking the accused, village head Yagya Dutt, with the party. SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said Adityanath was making such statements to hide his own failures.



Sonebhadra is now Catch-22 for Priyanka gandhi, Yogi

The Sonebhadra episode is turning into a Catch-22 situation for both, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Priyanka, who spent the night at the Chunar Guest House, said on Saturday morning that she would not return to Delhi without meetings the victims of the Sonebhadra carnage.

The Congress leader’s arrest — which district officials term “preventive detention” — has already spurred the Congress into action with the party planning to hold nationwide protests on Saturday.

Priyanka, at this stage cannot politically afford to retrace her steps and return to Delhi since that would reflect poorly on her party. Knowing her determination, and the response she is getting, it seems that she will prolong the dharna unless she is allowed to visit the victims’ families.

Yogi Adityanath, on the other hand, will not allow Priyanka to visit Sonebhadra. If he does, it will be a major moral victory for the Congress.

If Priyanka’s detention was a mistake, the BJP government will have to continue bearing the cross.

Top officials, till late on Friday night, tried to persuade the Congress leader to fill up the bail bond and return to Delhi.

“I will not pay a penny for the bail bond which they showed me on Friday night. I am ready to go to jail if this is what they want. I have not broken any rules. I even agreed to go to Sonebhadra with just two people so that the prohibitory orders are not violated,” she curtly told them.

Priyanka was reportedly asked to pay a bail amount of Rs 50,000 or face jail time of 14 days on Friday night.

“I did not break any law, nor did I commit any crime. In fact, I had made it clear that I am ready to meet the tribals alone if that is what the administration wants. Despite this, the administration has been doing this drama. The public is seeing everything. I consider bail in this matter completely immoral and I am not ready to pay it,” she said.

The Congress General Secretary apparently spent an uncomfortable night in the guest house but did not complain. Power supply in the guest house had been shut off late on Friday evening and was restored around midnight. Priyanka sat in the open with Congress workers, listening to their views.

Other Congress leaders, including legislature party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu also slept on the floor at the guest house.

District Magistrate Anurag Patel said that the power cut was part of routine load shedding.

Later in the night, senior Congress leader P.L. Punia reached Chunar to extend support to the Congress leaders. More leaders are expected to join Priyanka on Saturday.

It may be recalled that Priyanka had arrived in Varanasi on Friday morning and visited the Trauma Centre at BHU to meet those who had been injured in Wednesday’s massacre in Sonebhadra.

Priyanka, while she was on her way to Sonebhadra, was detained at Narayanpur in Mirzapur. She asked officials to show her the necessary orders for stopping her from going to Sonebhadra but officials merely said that they had verbal orders from the ‘top’.

Thereafter, Priyanka and other Congress leaders were taken to the Chunar Guest house.

Ten persons had been killed and two dozen injured in a caste clash over a land dispute in Murtiya village in Sonebhadra. Priyanka had come from Delhi to meet the victims’ families.



TMC delegation going to Sonebhadra stopped at Varanasi airport

A four-member delegation of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was on Saturday stopped from visiting the Sonebhadra district in Uttar Pradesh, where 10 people died in a caste violence on Wednesday.

The TMC said that a delegation comprising party senior leaders, including Derek O’Brien, Sunil Mondal, Abhir Ranjan Biswas and former MP Uma Saren, were stopped at the Varanasi airport after they deboarded the plane in Varanasi.

The TMC in its tweet quoted Brien as saying: “Trinamool Parliamentary delegation detained at Varanasi airport. ADM, SP have not told us under which section. (“Doing as told from topmost”). We have told them that we will cooperate, wish to meet injured and then proceed to Sonbhadra to meet and give confidence to grieving families.”

On Friday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi was detained in Mirzapur and taken to Chunar guest house. She was also not allowed to go and meet the victims families in Sonebhadra.

At least 10 people, including three women, died and over 24 were injured in a clash between Gond and Gujjar communities over a land dispute in Sonebhadra on Wednesday.

The police have arrested 29 people, including the kingpin Yogesh Dutt, in connection with the violence in Sonebhadra. A case has been filed against 78 people.