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Priyanka Gandhi Visits Sonbhadra, Deputy CM Says ‘Political Stunt’

Ten Gond tribals were gunned down and 28 others injured over a land dispute in Sonbhadra last month.

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Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday, 13 August, visited the Umbha village of Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh, where 10 Gond tribals were shot dead last month over a land dispute.

She has returned to Varanasi and is scheduled to depart for New Delhi on Tuesday night.

The UP administration had prevented her from going to the site of the massacre last month by detaining her in Mirzapur in the aftermath of the incident.

Shortly after arriving at the Varanasi airport on Tuesday morning, she tweeted, "Today, I am going to Sonbhadra to meet the brothers-sisters and children of Umbha village, enquire about their well-being and to be part of their struggle."

"I had promised the members of affected families of Umbha village, who had come to meet me at Chunar Fort, that I will visit them," she said.

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After landing in Varanasi, she left for Sonbhadra by road. She was greeted by party supporters and members on her way.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma reacted to her visit saying that Gandhi was pulling off a "political stunt".

Priyanka Gandhi will talk to the affected families about the development works in the village and try to get first-hand account of the steps taken by the government for their security after the incident, party sources had said.

‘Rules Not Followed’: Priyanka Gandhi on Article 370 Revocation

During her visit, Gandhi also spoke to the media on the effective revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, saying, "The manner in which it has been done is completely unconstitutional and it is against all the principles of democracy. There are rules to be followed when such things are done, which were not followed.”

‘Stop Shedding Crocodile Tears’: Mayawati

Meanwhile, BSP president Mayawati took a swipe at the Congress and the Samajwadi Party after Gandhi's visit to Sonbhadra, saying their leaders should "stop shedding crocodile tears" and instead work towards restoring the land to the tribals.

"According to the victims of the Sonbhadra case, first the land mafia of Congress and SP grabbed their land, following which many of the tribals were killed," she said in a series of Hindi tweets.

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"Instead of shedding crocodile tears, the SP and Congress leaders should now come forward to restore the land to the tribals so that this could be corrected," she added.

Ten people were gunned down and 28 others injured in Sonbhadra last month when armed men led by a village pradhan clashed with the villagers in a bid to take possession of a disputed piece of land.

The Congress leader had tried to visit the village after the massacre but was denied permission by the district administration which had promulgated Section 144 of the CrPC in view of the prevailing tension.

After meeting those injured in the Varanasi hospital, she was stopped and detained in Mirzapur on her way to Umbha. She was detained for the night by the district administration at the Chunar fort.

The members of tribal community had met Priyanka Gandhi the next day. The Congress leader had promised monetary help to the affected families which was handed over to them by a delegation of party leaders later.

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