An investigation team of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) will Monday visit Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra district where 10 tribal farmers were killed allegedly over a land dispute. The team led by NCST Chairman Nand Kumar Sai will meet the family members of those killed, and police and administration officials.
Apart from the 10 killed, 18 others were injured Wednesday when they resisted an attempt by village head Yagya Dutt and his supporters to take possession of the 90 bighas of disputed land in the district's Ghorawal area.
The men accompanying the village head had allegedly opened fire, killing nine people on the spot. "We will try to understand what was the dispute about. We have come to know that these tribals have been living on that land for decades... then why the administration has not granted them ownership yet?" Sai said.
The tribals have tilled the land for generations and have been demanding titles for it. Attempts had been made to evict them earlier too, an NCST official said. The land earlier belonged to an IAS officer and he had sold it to Yagya Dutt, who wanted to take possession, Uttar Pradesh DGP O P Singh had earlier told PTI. The Uttar Pradesh Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission Thursday accused local officials of “negligence" in tackling the land dispute which triggered the firing.
The NCST chairman also expressed concern over the states not doing enough for the welfare of tribals. "Usually, tribals face a lot of problem to get ownership of land they have been living on for decades. Bureaucratic hassles at the lower level make it hard for them to even obtain certificates to established their identity," he claimed.
He said serious steps are required to improve law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. "Serious interventions are needed to improve the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. State governments should make their people feel safe and secure... Merely forming a government is not going to be of any help," he said.