Sonbhadra Firing: Priyanka, in detention, allowed to meet victims' families
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was on Friday stopped from meeting families of those who died in Sonbhadra mass firing, finally had a word with them on Saturday. Since Priyanka wasn't permitted to "leave", the villagers came to see her. She has been detained since yesterday. To recall, a shootout over land dispute in a UP village killed 10 people and injured over 20, earlier this week.
For the uninitiated, the Sonbhadra firing started over a disputed 36 acres land. While village chief Yagya Dutt claimed he purchased the land two years ago, Gond community members said the land couldn't be sold as it belongs to society. On Wednesday, Dutt came to take "possession" of the land. When villagers protested, his henchmen opened fire. Out of ten deceased, three are women.
Priyanka was one of the first Opposition leaders to express discontent over the incident. On Friday, she landed in Varanasi and paid a visit to BHU's Trauma Center, where some of the victims are undergoing treatment. She was then slated to visit Ubha village, the epicenter of the massacre, but her convoy was stopped mid-way. As she refused to move, she was taken away.
With her actions, Priyanka infused some energy into Congress, which has been sulking after the 2019 elections rout. In her first reaction to the incident, she asked why is the administration sleeping. "Is this how the state will become crime-free?" she asked. On Friday, while she was taken away into the government vehicle, Priyanka said she would not be cowed down.
Interestingly, a defiant Priyanka spent the night at Chunar guest house in Mirzapur. She exited the guest house this morning to meet the victims' families, but police stopped her from doing so. However, by then the kin of the victims had arrived to meet her. Out of 15 people who came, only two were "allowed" to meet Priyanka, giving her more reasons to attack BJP.
"Two relatives of victims have come here to meet me, 15 others are not being allowed to meet me. Even I am not being allowed to meet them. God knows what their mindset is," Priyanka said in the morning.
#WATCH Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: Prasashan ko inki (family of victims of Sonbhadra firing case) rakhwali karni chaiye. Jab inke sath hadsa ho raha tha, madad karni chaiye thi. Prasashan ki mansikta meri samaj se bahar hai. Aap unn par thoda dabaw banaiye, aap mere piche pade hain. pic.twitter.com/BIW8ZYnzRF— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) July 20, 2019
As it turns out, other Opposition leaders also followed Priyanka's footsteps. Derek O'Brien of the Trinamool arrived at Varanasi to meet the victims of families. However, Derek along with his party colleagues Sunil Mondal and Abhir Ranjan Biswas were "detained". "We told them we cannot be detained under Section 144 as we are only three," Derek said in a video.
Video message from Trinamool delegation who have been detained/arrested (they still haven’t been told why!) at Varanasi airport tarmac. They were on their way to meet the injured in hospital and meet give confidence to the grieving families in #Sonbhadra— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) July 20, 2019