Allahabad, Feb 21 (PTI) Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited a fishermen’s village on the Yamuna bank in Allahabad district on Sunday and heard its inhabitants’ complaints of alleged police highhandedness over “illegal” sand mining from the riverbed.
After interacting with the Nishad community people of Baswar village located around 15 km from the Allahabad city across the Yamuna river, Gandhi sought to assure them of her help and support.
“Heard the Nishad community's woes of police highhandedness against them and assured them of being with them,” Gandhi tweeted after she visited the village.
Gandhi visited Baswar in the wake of the February 4 incident in which the police had raided the village and had allegedly beaten up the people involved in “illegal” mining of sand from the Yamuna riverbed and had also damaged their boats.
In her tweet, Gandhi also turned poetic and tweeted a stanza of a poem by an Allahabad-based poet, Govind Nishad, on the plight of Nishad community people as to how no one needs their boats to cross rivers.
Gandhi met the people of the Nishad community whose main vocation is fishing and rowing boats in rivers, at the village 'chaupal', (meeting venue), and heard their tales of alleged police atrocities.
“We do not have any land for farming. We all depend on rivers for our livelihood. But the policemen beat up even our women folks over their suspicion of our involvement in sand mining,' Ram Lochan, an elderly village resident, told the Congress general secretary.
Talking to Priyanka Gandhi, another villager alleged that only influential people of the state are behind the illegal sand mining.
“The sand mining in all rivers is banned in UP. Then how come there lie heaps of sand on their banks? Where have they come from if the sand mining is banned?” he asked.
He alleged that while the rich and powerful carry illegal sand mining in the state, the action is taken against the poor.
He said on being objected to their acts of damaging boats, policemen beat up even women, cattle grazers and labourers.
Without identifying herself, a woman told Gandhi that the policemen beat up her husband after tying his hands and legs with ropes and when she objected to it, they beat up her too.
After interacting with villagers, Gandhi also visited the riverbank and inspected boats, allegedly damaged by policemen. PTI CORR RAX RAX