SC/ST panel orders invocation of NSA against Sonbhadra massacre culprits

Lucknow: The UP SC/ST Commission Thursday asked state government to invoke the NSA and the Gangster Act against culprits behind killings of 10 tribal people in Sonbhadra district and take action against officials for their "negligence" in averting the massacre.

The Commission also rushed a two-member team of its Deputy Chairman Maniram Kaul and member Ramsewak Kharwar for a first-hand probe into the shootout, said an official  statement.

The team will visit the scene of crime, meet the adivasis and injured persons and submit a report to SC/ST Commission chairman Brij Lal, said the panel.

Ten people were killed and 18 others injured as a village head and his supporters allegedly opened fire on a rival group. The deceased belonged to the Gond tribe.

Directing Sonbhadra district magistrate and superintendent of police to arrest all the culprits at the earliest, the commission asked them to invoke the stringent National Security Act in the case to ensure that "the perpetrators of the crime do not get bail".

Public order has been disturbed because of this incident and it requirers invocation of the NSA and Gangster Act, the commission said.

The Uttar Pradesh Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes also sought the trial of the case by a fast track court to ensure its speedy disposal.

The commission said, "The matter pertains to an old land dispute under which there has been a continued move to evict the adivasis by musclemen and negligence of the police and administration can be seen in it."   

"The officials conducting the inquiry also need to look into the negligence aspect and ensure that action is taken against officials and staff found responsible," the release said.

The Commission also directed the district adminstration to provide security to the adivasis by deploying adequate police force in the village, the release said.

The Commission asked government to make immediate payment of compensation as per the provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, besides a monthly pension of Rs 5,000 to each of the families whose earning members died in the shootout.

The panel also asked the government to provide free education up to the graduation level to the children of the deceased.