UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday blamed the Congress for the Sonebhadra caste carnage and said the “sins committed by the Congress” led to suffering in this village.
The Chief Minister also accused Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi of shedding “crocodile tears” over the farmers’ deaths.
The Chief Minister, who was in the village where a clash over land claimed 10 lives and left over two dozen injured on Wednesday, said, “This incident is a big political conspiracy. The foundations were laid in 1955 when the land was transferred to a trust set up by a Congress Rajya Sabha member. In 1989, the Congress government in UP transferred the land to individual members of the trust.”
Adityanath said the incident had “exposed the anti-Dalit and anti-tribal face of the Congress”.
Priyanka Gandhi was detained by the police on Friday while trying to meet the victims’ families. The stand-off between the two made headlines and was resolved after some of the families were allowed to meet her on Saturday.
The Chief Minister also announced enhanced compensation of Rs 18 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 2.5 lakh for injured. The government had earlier announced Rs 5 lakh for the deceased’s families and Rs 50,000 for injured.
Assuring strict action against culprits, the Chief Minister said a police post would be set up in the village.
He advised the deceased’s families to send their children to Anganwadis (rural child care centres) even as they were demanding money and land as compensation and death for the guilty.
The carnage took place when Yagya Dutt, a village chief, and his associates fired on a group of farmers who refused to give up the 36 acres of land they had tilled for generations.
According to eyewitnesses, Dutt then brought nearly 200 men on 32 tractor trolleys to seize the land who fired at the tribals for more than 30 minutes.
The incident triggered political storm with the opposition accusing Yogi’s Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) government of trying to protect the accused.
Twenty-four people have been arrested and 78, including Yagya Dutt and his brother, charged in the case.