Kin of Sonebhadra carnage victims meet Priyanka, Congress leaders detained

Mirzapur, July 20 (IANS) High drama was witnessed at the Chunar guest house here on Saturday as the families of the Sonebhadra massacre victims arrived to meet Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Priyanka had been prevented from going to the Murtiya village in Sonebhadra by the district administration and was detained since Friday at the Chunar Guest House.

Congress leaders, who were on their way to Sonebhadra and Mirzapur on Saturday, were detained by the UP police at the Varanasi airport.

Among those stopped at Varanasi airport were UPCC President Raj Babbar, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Congress leaders Deepender Singh Hooda, Mukul Wasnik, R.P.N. Singh, Jitin Prasada and Rajeev Shukla.

"We have been stopped at the airport. The administration has not given any papers why we have been stopped," R.P.N. Singh told IANS.

A three-member delegation of Trinamool Congress (TMC), led by Derek O'Brien, was also detained by UP police at the Varanasi airport.

Priyanka told the media that she was trying to meet the kin of the victims since Friday but was not allowed to. "And now that they are here to meet me, they are also being stopped. Even I am being prevented from speaking to them," she said.

The meeting between Priyanka and the victims' families was highly emotional as the women sobbed bitterly while narrating the sequence of events. Priyanka could not hold back her tears as she hugged them and assured them of all support and help.

After the meeting, Priyanka plans to leave Mirzapur and travel to Varanasi from where she will fly back to Delhi.

Meanwhile a Congress delegation led by Pramod Tiwari met Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik in Lucknow over the Sonebhadra firing incident and detention of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The Sonebhadra incident saw 10 people killed in a shootout over a land dispute in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. While the main accused and 29 others have been arrested, a Sub-Divisional Magistrate and four other officials have been suspended.

--IANS

amita/aks/rtp

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