Police have decided to invoke provisions of the National Security Act (NSA) against all the accused in the Sonbhadra firing case which claimed the lives of 10 people and left several others injured.
Police have seized 14 tractors and five licensed weapons allegedly used in the clash over a land dispute at Umbha village.
The weapons belong to the prime accused, village head Yagya Dutt, and his family members. The pradhan, his brothers Dev Dutt, Dharmendra Dutt and Nidhi Dutt and nephews Ganesh and Vimlesh have been arrested, said a police officer.
Police said they have also recovered 10 empty cartridges and around 45 bamboo sticks from the spot of the incident. The seized weapons and the empty cartridges are being sent for ballistic examination, police said.
“We are collecting details about owners of the seized tractors and how the accused got them. The five weapons seized were used in the crime,” SP, Sonbhadra, Salmantaj Jafertaj Patil said.
Police have so far arrested 29 people in connection with the incident and are looking for 17 others who are absconding. “We have decided to invoke National Security Act against all accused,” added Additional DG, Varanasi zone, Braj Bhushan.
For the probe, police have decided to seek the help of district revenue officials as the clash was triggered by a land dispute.
Meanwhile, Umbha resident Ram Raj, who has been pursuing the case against the pradhan and his family, has alleged that an unidentified person threatened him. “On Friday evening, an unidentified youth on a bike arrived at my residence. He told two of my relatives, who were standing outside, that I will be taught a lesson after the matter dies down. My relatives told me about this when I returned home. I immediately informed police officers,” he said.
SP Patil, however, said Ram Raj has not made any such complaint.
Meanwhile, a team of Forest Department has started studying its records after media reports that the disputed land was earlier a forest area. Divisional Forest Officer, Kaimur Range, Ashutosh Jaiswal said, “Our team will visit the Sonbhadra revenue office on Tuesday to study the records. We looked into the records with us but did not find details of the land.”