Sonabhadra: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday met with the families of the 10 tribal farmers who were killed in a shootout in Ubbah village in Sonbhadra district this week, and promised that his government would "help (them) in every way".
The Chief Minister, whose visit came amidst several political criticisms over his silence and non-reaction on the deaths, also said he would take "strict action against those who tried to steal land".
Ten people were killed and over 24 injured on Wednesday when a village chief, Yagya Dutt, and his associates, fired on a group of farmers who refused to give up 36 acres of land they had tilled for generations.
Witnesses said Yagya Dutt then brought nearly 200 men on 32 tractor trolleys to seize the land. They fired at the tribals for more than 30 minutes in one of the most chilling incidents the country has seen in recent times.
"Strict action will be taken against those who tried to steal land. The government will help (you) in every way," the Chief Minister said, reported by NDTV. He also announced the establishment of a police outpost in the area to prevent further attacks.
Yogi Adityanath also advised the families of the people who were killed to send their children to Anganwadis (rural child care centres).
Many of the victims of the shootout demanded money and land as compensation, along with death penalty to the guilty, news agency ANI reported.
"We will demand Rs. 10 lakh and 10 bigha land for the kin of those who died in the firing and Rs. 7 lakh and six bigha land for the injured," Chhote Lal, who was injured in the shootout, said.
"We will demand capital punishment for the village headman," Indra Kumar, who was injured in the firing, added.
The incident led to widespread attacks on the BJP government in the state with the opposition accusing it of trying to protect the accused. The Congress, Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, the Left and the Trinamool Congress hit out at the government on Saturday.
With the end of the Priyanka episode on Saturday where she was detained while visiting the families of Sonabhadra, a new confrontation was triggered when a Trinamool Congress delegation was stopped at Varanasi airport.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra did finally meet the villagers - at a guest house in Mirzapur district on Saturday - saying that "I'll be back".
Till now, 24 people have been arrested for the mass murder. A total of 78 people have been charged, including Yagya Dutt and his brother.