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On Her Way to Meet Sonbhadra Victims, Priyanka Gandhi Detained By U.P. Police

In Sonbhadra, 10 tribal farmers were shot dead by the village chief and his armed goons when the former refused to give up the land they had tilled for generations.

On Friday, July 19, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was detained in Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur district, when she was on her way to meet victims of the Sonbhadra firing case. She and other members of the Congress party sat on the road and protested until she was taken away in a government car.

As per a report in India Today, while Gandhi claimed that she had been detained, the Uttar Pradesh DGP denied that and said, “Priyanka Gandhi has not been detained. She has been stopped by the local administration.”

Speaking to ANI, the Congress party general secretary said, “I don’t know where are they taking me, we are ready to go anywhere.” She also said, “Yes, we still won’t be cowed down. We were only going peacefully to meet victim families(of Sonbhadra firing case).”

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She reportedly added, “When the police told me that they won’t allow me to go, I asked for an order but they that couldn’t show me anything. So I said I’ll go there if you can’t show me an order then they arrested me.”

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On Wednesday, July 17, ten persons were killed, and over 24 were injured in a shooting over a 36-acre piece of land. A village chief, Yagya Dutt, and his associates fired on a group of tribal farmers who had reportedly refused to give up the land they had tilled for generations. Dutt had allegedly brought nearly 200 men on 32 tractor trolleys to seize the property, claiming he had bought it ten years ago from a local family. After the tribal farmers opposed, the men fired at them for over half-an-hour. Till now, 24 people have been arrested for the mass murder. A total of 78 people have been charged, including Yagya Dutt and his brother.

Section 144 had been imposed in the area.

Speaking to NDTV, Gandhi said, “I only want to meet the affected families, whose members have been mercilessly shot dead. A boy of my son’s age was shot at and is lying in a hospital. Tell me on what legal basis I have been stopped.”

“We have been stopped. I am asking them to show me the order or law under which it is being done. I am telling them I will go only with four people (permissible assembly under Section 144). I only want to meet the victims’ families,” she told The Hindu.

The Congress party condemned the police action detention, calling it illegal and an insult to democratic rule. Rahul Gandhi termed the detention “arbitrary application of power” and said, “The illegal arrest of Priyanka in Sonbhadra, UP, is disturbing. This arbitrary application of power, to prevent her from meeting families of the 10 Adivasi farmers brutally gunned down for refusing to vacate their own land, reveals the BJP Govt’s increasing insecurity in UP.”

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