Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh east, Priyanka Gandhi continued her dharna on Saturday, July 20, after being detained by the state police in Mirzapur a day earlier. She had been on her way to meet the families of victims of the Sonbhadra massacre on Friday.
ANI reported Gandhi as saying, “It has been 24 hours. I am not going to leave until and unless I am allowed to meet the victims of Sonbhadra’s firing case.” Gandhi has been detained at the Chunar Kila in Mirzapur, where the electricity was cut off. At night, Gandhi tweeted that senior officials of U.P. police told her to leave without meeting the victims’ families. She said that the officials did not present any documents authorising the arrest.
She further said that her arrest was completely illegal, adding that she did not come here to violate any laws but simply to meet the families of Sonbhadra victims.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi had said that the state government had kept her under arrest at the Chunar fort and that she was told to submit a bail of Rs 50,000, failing which she would be sent to 14 days’ imprisonment.
She said that the state administration had orders from “higher-ups” to prevent her from reaching Sonbhadra. On the morning of July 20, she shared a video of the grieving families in Sonbhadra and asked if it was a crime to wipe their tears.
On July 17, 10 tribal farmers were killed and over 24 injured in an attack over a piece of land. A village chief, Yagya Dutt, and his associates fired on the group of tribal farmers who had reportedly refused to give up the land they had tilled for generations. Dutt had allegedly brought nearly 200 men on 32 tractor trolleys to seize the property, claiming he had bought it 10 years ago from a local family. After the tribal farmers opposed, the men fired at them for over half-an-hour.