Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today visited Umbra village in Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra district, where 10 people were shot dead by a village head and 200 of his associates over a land dispute. A little more than a week ago, a report from the state government stated local police officers had sided with the accused and had deliberately delayed action over the case despite the pleas of villagers.
After arriving at Varanasi airport for her visit, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: "Today, I am going to Sonbhadra to meet the brothers-sisters and children of Umbha village, enquire about their well-being and to be part of their struggle. I had promised the members of affected families of Umbha village, who had come to meet me at Chunar Fort, that I will visit them."
Today, when she undertook the 100-km journey from Varanasi to the village by road to meet the victims, her visit was labelled a "political stunt" by Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, who added for good measure that Ms Gandhi ought to "repent" to the villagers during her visit.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visits Ubha village of Sonbhadra. Ten people from the village had died in firing last month over a land dispute. pic.twitter.com/e9SLmbVQji- ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) August 13, 2019
"The root cause of the Sonbhadra incident can be traced to the Congress. She should go there to repent (paschataap) the act of former Congress leaders. After so many days, when action has already been initiated into the incident, this is only a political stunt," Mr Sharma was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Days after the shooting, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on a visit to the area pinned the blame on previous Congress governments for the land dispute, saying that such disputes had been taking place since 1952.
Disturbing details of the massacre revealed that nearly 200 of the village head's associates reached Umbra village on 32 tractor trolleys to take possession of the land from the villagers, who were tribals.
The tribals had alleged they had tilled the land for generations and refused to relent, after which they were fired upon for more than half an hour.