Three weeks after ten Gond tribals were shot dead and 28 were injured in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district over a land dispute, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the removal of District Magistrate (DM) and the Superintendent of Police (SP) Sunday besides calling for action against 13 other officials.
Addressing a press conference, Adityanath said departmental proceedings were initiated against Sonbhadra DM Ankit Kumar Agrawal and SP Salmantaj Patil. Adityanath also said FIRs would be registered against several police and administration officials for alleged irregularities and members of Adarsh Krishi Sahkari Samiti, Umbha on charges of land grabbing.
The disciplinary action comes a day after Additional chief secretary (revenue) submitted a report to the government. The disputed land in Umbha and Saphi villages will also be transferred and registered in the name of the gram sabha, the UP CM said. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) will be constituted to look into the matter.
Investigations into the Sonbhadra killings revealed that 1955 revenue records of the land disputed by the rival parties were missing, a senior district official had told The Indian Express on July 24.
In 1955, the tehsildar’s order purportedly had transferred the disputed land in Sonbhadra’s Umbha village to the Adarsh Sahkari Samiti in 1955 has not been found during the ongoing probe and search of the revenue records, according to officials.
DM, Ankit Kumar Agrawal, had told The Indian Express, “The case file of the tehsildar’s order is not there. Some documents are destroyed after some time because they can’t be stored forever. It must have been destroyed. But, the transfer of the disputed land to the society is lodged in the revenue records. And other documents related to the transfer of the land are there. Only the case file of the tehsildar’s order is not there.”
Ten Gond tribals were gunned down while resiting a violent attempt by the village head and his men to take control of the land. The main suspect Yagya Dutt has been arrested.
In 2017, Yagya Dutt and 10 others of his family bought 145 bighas of the disputed land from the wife and daughter of a retired Bihar cadre IAS officer (the daughter is also married to an IAS officer). Since then, they had been trying to take possession of the land from its Gond tillers.