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Sonbhadra clash: NCST asks UP govt to send factual report; to visit UP Monday to probe killings

Sonbhadra clash: NCST asks UP govt to send factual report; to visit UP Monday to probe killings

(Eds: Adds info) /RNew Delhi, Jul 19 (PTI) The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) on Friday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, asking it submit a report on the killing of 10 tribal farmers allegedly over a land dispute in Sonbhadra district. A team led by NCST Chairman Nand Kumar Sai will also visit Umbha village in the district Monday to meet the family members of those killed as well as police and administration officials.Apart from the 10 killed, 18 people were injured Wednesday when they resisted an attempt by village head Yagya Dutt and his supporters to take possession of the 90 bighas of disputed land in the districts Ghorawal area.The men accompanying the village head had allegedly opened fire, killing nine people on the spot."It has come to the notice of the NCST through print and electronic media that 10 people belonging to Scheduled Tribes have been killed and several injured over a land dispute in Umbha village in Sonbhadra. "Keeping in view of the seriousness of the incident, the Commission issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, UP, and District Collector and SP of Sonbhadra district to send a factual and action taken report in the matter," a statement read. A four-member NCST team will visit the district on Monday to inquire into the incident. The team will meet the victims, Divisional Commissioner, Mirzapur, Additional Director General of Police, Varanasi Range, and District Collector and Superintendent of Police of Sonbhadra district, it said. The NCST chairman told PTI, "We will try to understand what was the dispute about. We have come to know that these tribals have been living on that land for decades... then why has the administration not granted them ownership yet?" The tribals have tilled the land for generations and have been demanding titles for it. Attempts had been made to evict them earlier too, an NCST official said.The land earlier belonged to an IAS officer and he had sold it to Yagya Dutt, who wanted to take possession, Uttar Pradesh DGP O P Singh had earlier told PTI.The Uttar Pradesh Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission Thursday accused local officials of negligence" in tackling the land dispute. The NCST chairman expressed concern over for the welfare of tribals and said serious steps are required to improve law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh."Usually, tribals face a lot of problem to get ownership of land they have been living on for decades. Bureaucratic hassles at the lower level make it hard for them to even obtain certificates to established their identity," he claimed. "Serious interventions are needed to improve the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. State governments should make their people feel safe and secure," he said. PTI GVS RTRT