Nine people shot dead over land dispute in UP, CM Yogi seeks report
Lucknow, July 17: At least nine persons, including four women, were shot dead in a village in eastern Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra district, over a land dispute. The shootout at Ubbha village in the district lasted for nearly an hour.
The two groups opened fire using country-made pistols and also attacked one another with sharp weapons. The two sides fought over 90 bigha of land that the gram pradhan had purchased two years ago.
The land in the district's Ghorawal area earlier belonged to an IAS officer and he had sold it to village head Yagya Dutt, who wanted to take its possession, Uttar Pradesh DGP O P Singh told PTI.
When Dutt reached the spot with his henchmen in 10 to 12 tractors, local villagers tried to stop them from taking over the land, police said. Those accompanying him then showered a hail of bullets on the villagers, all tribals, killing nine of them. Hours later, a group of sobbing women sat close to the blood-splattered spot, mourning the loss of their dear ones.
In hospital, Ashok Gond (35) said the villagers were working in the fields when armed men attacked them. "We did not get a chance to talk or retaliate. They came in tractors, armed with guns and sticks to grab our land," the injured villager told PTI.
Another victim, Terwa Devi (50) said, "The land was ours, but it was fraudulently registered by the village head. He wanted to get its possession but failed to do so. It seemed that he came determined to kill those who came in his way." "What was our fault? We are poor and earn our livelihood only by cultivating this land," she said.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has sought report from the local administration on the incident. He has also directed the directed the director general of police to personally monitor the Sonebhadra firing case and ensure strict action against the culprits.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, suggesting that the shootout reflected the law and order situation in the state.
The incident, the bloodiest clash over land in recent years in Uttar Pradesh, comes just a day before the Monsoon Session of the state assembly begins.