Sonbhadra Murders: Land Dispute Since the 1950s Which Turned Ugly

The village-level administration was also aware of the land dispute issue.

3 min read
Hindi Female

The land dispute in Sonbhadra that led to the deaths of 10 people on Wednesday, 17 July, is more than six decades old. An IAS officer from Bihar cadre and ex-District Magistrate (DM) of Mirzapur, Prabhat Mishra, is one of the prime accused in the case. Mishra had bought the land in Umba village and sold it off two years ago.

In the clash that broke out between the village head, Yagya Dutt, his supporters, and the tribals on Wednesday, 18 others were injured.

So far, 24 people have been arrested in connection to the case, officials reported to PTI on Thursday, 18 July.

FLASHBACK TO 1950’s-60’s

BJP’s MP Chote Lal Karwar has alleged some shocking events regarding the case. He said that on 17 December 1955, the Tehsildar, Robert Sangaz, had sold 648 acres to the Cooperative Society. But in 1966, the Society's term expired. Thereon, farming took place in the vast expanse of the land for several years.

Mishra had his eyes on this land. Back then, Sonbhadra was part of Mirzapur and not a separate district in itself. On 6 December 1989, Mishra, who was the then DM, got the land registered under the names of his family members — Asha Mishra (wife), Vineeta Sharma and Bhanu Sharma.



Mishra allegedly sold 140 acres of the land to Dutt on 17 December 2017, the term for which expired on 6 February this year.

Dutt had also appealed to the administration for the eviction of the land, however, the public administration failed to take any action against the tribals.

Since the beginning of the issue, there was some speculation that the issue may escalate into a war between the groups. The village level administration was aware of this dispute but did not take any action. Now, 10 lives have been lost and 20 have been severely injured.


Dutt was prepared to take over the land in Umbha village. He had an idea that the tribals might protest and create chaos, which is why he brought 32 tractors and 300 people with him.

The people were called in from Jharkhand and Bihar in large numbers. The tribals did protest but they failed in front of the huge crowd and their weapons.

According to the witnesses, the firing in the village went on for about an hour. While Dutt and his men had weapons, the tribals were fighting back with sticks and lathis.


MP Kharwar said that the CBI should immediately look into the matter. He added that strict action should be taken against all those who are responsible for this crime, especially in the light of the fact that the village administration and officials at higher posts were aware of the matter.

Despite being informed, the crime took place in broad daylight.


Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took cognizance of the matter and sent his condolences to the bereaved families. He has demanded that proper care and attention be given to the injured in the case.

Yogi has directed DGP OP Singh to watch the matter closely and commence an extensive search to arrest all the accused in the crime.

The DGP has admitted that one of the IAS officers from Bihar is under the scanner. The ADG from Varanasi, Brijbhushan said that five people who were critically injured in the clash were sent to the Varanasi Trauma Centre. Presently, the case is being probed from all angles.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Topics:  Uttar Pradesh   IAS officer   Homicide 

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