The Renuka Kumar committee, which was set up by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to probe the reasons behind the Sonbhadra massacre in July last year, has found that a Congress leader had seized about 9000 bighas of land in Sonbhadra and Mirzapur by creating fake cooperative societies.
The report, which has been submitted to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, also stated that several other Congress leaders and retired bureaucrats had also illegally occupied land worth Rs 700 crore in the region. The report prepared by the committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary Renuka Kumar added that a total of 10,569 bighas or 6602 acres of land have been illegally occupied in Sonbhadra and Mirzapur.
Yesterday an Uttar Pradesh police investigation had found 5 policemen guilty of laxity, and they ordered to deposit 30 days’ salary as fine. According to police, when village head had forcibly occupied land, police inspector Shiv Kumar Mishra and his predecessor Mool Chand Chauhan did not listen to complaints by Gond tribals. Three constables, Kanhaiya Lal, Sudhakar Yadav and Pramod Kumar Singh, were accused of not following rules and following only their senior officers. The policemen had also ignored apprehension expressed by villagers that some untoward incident may happen due to the dispute over the land.
It may be recalled that on July 17 last year, a land dispute in Ubbha village in Ghorawal area in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh had led to the brutal massacre, in which 10 people were shot dead and many more were injured when henchmen of a village head opened fire on local tribal people who were protesting against the occupation of what they claimed to be their land.
According to reports, around 300 people in 32 tractor-trailers were brought to occupy land belonging to tribal people. When they opposed the move, the occupiers started firing them. According to survivors, the firing went for half an hour. They also beat people will sticks who fell down to the ground after being shot.
The locals didn’t know that the attackers were armed, and when the firing started, they started running and called the police, who arrived after an hour. 10 people were killed in the attack, and 23 were injured. Police had arrested 29 people in the case, including the main accused gram pradhan. Police had also recovered guns and rifles from the accused persons.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had then blamed the Congress party for the Sonbhadra massacre. He said, “If you go to the bottom of the issue, you will know that in 1955 when there was a Congress government (in Uttar Pradesh), an Adarsh Society was created with the intention to grab the land of the people.”
He had said the land was transferred to the Adarsh Society in 1955, when “the illegal work was done”. The Adarsh Society held the land till 1989, Adityanath had said.
The chief minister had added, “In 1989 when again there was a Congress government in Uttar Pradesh, the land ownership was changed from Adarsh Society to an individual. That individual sold this land to the gram pradhan of Ubha in 2017.” Adityanath said the land was sold to Yagya Dutt, the accused gram pradhan after the previous owner failed to take possession of the land in 2017.
Soon after the episode, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had jumped at the opportunity to gain political mileage from the incident. Two days after the incident the Congress leader had attempted to visit Sonbhadra massacre site despite section 144. Attempting to come across as a well-wisher of the victims, Priyanka had then visited the families of those who were killed in the Sonbhadra massacre at the Umbha village and demanded that the Yogi Adityanath government should withdraw cases against the detained.
Trying her best to use the incident to resurrect her career the Gandhi scion had taken to Twitter then to ask whether it was a crime to stand by the victims.
While Priyanka Gandhi appeared to be overeager to play politics over the heinous crime, her brother Rahul Gandhi too had blatantly lied bout the whole matter and claimed that Priyanka was arrested when, in fact, she was only taken to a guest house.
However, after the electrifying drama, Priyanka Vadra had played over the incident, pinning the blame from the massacre on the Yogi Adityanath government, now that the Renuka Kumar committee report clearly states that the genesis of the problem lied in the Congress rule, may come as a major embarrassment for the grand old party.