Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar, who on Tuesday visited Umbha village in Sonbhadra district and met the families of those killed in the last week’s clash over a land dispute, alleged that the administration was trying to shield the accused and demanded that those involved in the killing of the 10 tribals should not be allowed to return to the village.
“The administration is on the side of those who killed unarmed tribal people from the village… Those who have killed tribals here should not be allowed to stay in the village ever. If they return, they may attack the local Gond community members again,” Chandrashekhar told The Indian Express after meeting the families of the victims.
“The Bhim Army will fight the case on your behalf and will provide legal assistance,” the Dalit youth leader told the family members of the victims.
Ten tribals were killed and 23 others injured after a group of people allegedly led by the village pradhan opened fire on them over a disputed piece of land on July 17. At least 29 people have been arrested, including village pradhan Yagya Dutta.
Chandrashekhar also demanded that the affected families should be provided licensed guns by the government for self-defence. “These people are poor and cannot afford weapons for their defence. They should be provided with weapons by the government,” he said.
He also said that the government should ensure that the disputed land be registered in the name of the tribals. “The tribals have been growing crops on that piece of land for generations. They should be allotted the land. The government must ensure this,” said Chandrashekhar, who claimed to have come on a motorcycle with his face covered “as officials would have prevented” him from reaching the village. He later met the injured at the BHU trauma centre in Varanasi.
Meanwhile, a Samajwadi Party delegation, led by state president Naresh Uttam Patel, also visited the village and met families of the victims.