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Cong responsible for Sonbhadra clash: UP CM; 5 officials suspended, 29 arrested

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: July 19, 2019  | 18:23 IST

(Eds: Updating with CM's presser, ex gratia announcement) Lucknow, Jul 19 (PTI) Promising justice to those killed in the Sonbhadra clash, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanth Friday suspended a sub divisional magistrate and four policemen, while holding the Congress responsible for the incident in which 29 persons have been arrested so far. Ten people were killed and 28 injured on Wednesday when they resisted an attempt by the village headman and his supporters to take possession of 90 bigha of a disputed land in Sonbhadra district's Ghorawal area. "Despite the dispute between the two factions in the past and apprehensions of breach of peace, adequate action was not taken by the officers. The SDM, Circle officer and Inspector, all posted in Ghorawal, have been suspended on the basis of the report of the probe committee constituted on July 17. The beat sub-inspector and constable have also been suspended," the chief minister said in the state assembly. Adityanath said the action was taken on the report of the two-member committee of Divisional Commissioner, Vidhyachal division and Additional Director General (ADG), Varanasi zone. Citing this report, he said the land dispute, which led to the clash, dated back to 1955, adding a number of cases were pending in this regard in revenue courts, with criminal cases being filed by both the factions. Speaking at a press conference later, the chief minister held the policies of the previous Congress regime responsible for the incident. He said under the Congress regime (from 1955 to 1989), the land was illegally transferred in the name of Adarsh Society. "In 1989, this land was transferred again. Even as the land was in the name of Adarsh Society, the land was used by tribal people for farming and some amount of money was paid by them to the society owners. But the owners could not acquire the piece of land," Adityanath said. The priest-turned-politician further stated that the land in question was sold to someone else in 1989. "The tribals, however, continued to cultivate the land. It was later illegally transferred to an IAS officer of Bihar cadre in 1989," he said. The chief minister said when the bureaucrat could not occupy the land, he sold it to the gram pradhan in 2017. "There have been many criminal instances in this case," Adityanath said. The BJP leader said a three-member committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue), Principal Secretary Labour, Divisional commissioner, Vidhyachal has been constituted to look into the land dispute and will submit its report within 10 days. "The committee will take note of the dispute and fix responsibilities by going through the revenue records and give its recommendations," he said. ADG (Varanasi Zone) has also been asked to probe the cases registered against the two sides in Sonbhadra before July 17, the chief minister said. Meanwhile, the state government announced a financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the dependents of the deceased, and Rs 50,000 to the injured. The victims were farming the disputed land for a long time, but their names were not registered in the revenue records. On the day of the incident, the accused reached the said land in tractors for its possession, leading to the clash, the CM said. Twenty-nine persons, including the main accused, Yagya Dutt, have been arrested and a single barrel gun, three double barrel guns, a rifle and six tractors have been seized. Replying to a question on reports of SP leader Azam Khan being declared as 'land mafia' by the Rampur administration, Adityanath said, "There was 'kabja' (grabbing) culture in previous SP regime and Rampur is its example." PTI ABN SRY

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