India’s Priyanka stopped from visiting site of deadly shooting as tensions flare

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, above, was leading a group of supporters to the village of a few hundred people when police blocked their cars. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 July 2019

India’s Priyanka stopped from visiting site of deadly shooting as tensions flare

  • The shooting happened in Uttar Pradesh
  • The state is known for a pronounced caste system

NEW DELHI: Indian police on Friday stopped opposition leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from visiting a village where 10 tribal people were gunned down this week over a land dispute, officials said, fueling political divisions.
In an altercation on Wednesday, a village headman and his supporters allegedly shot at a group of tribal people who were working a piece of disputed agricultural land in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state and divisions based on the ancient caste system are pronounced, especially in rural areas. Tribal people are perceived to form the bottom rung of that system.
Police have arrested 27 people, including the village headman, but opposition groups said the shooting was the latest sign of deteriorating security in the state governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Priyanka — she is usually referred to by just her first name — is the sister of Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi and is a party general secretary.
She was leading a group of supporters to the village of a few hundred people when police blocked their cars, saying they could inflame tension.
But Priyanka said she was only going to commiserate with the families of the victims and state authorities were trying to cover up their failure to prevent the violence.
She said that police had been warned of a brewing conflict between the headman and tribal people who had been farming on the land for generations.
“The police were called during the altercation but no help came,” she said. “Where is the law and order system in this state?
Uttar Pradesh, led by firebrand Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath, has been in the spotlight for incidents of lynching over the slaughter of cows, attacks on journalists and a general rise in crime, opposition leaders say.
“There is jungle rule in UP,” said Tej Narain Pandey, a state legislator.
Police said the village headman and his supporters arrived at the disputed tract of land with guns.
Nine people were killed at the site and one died later in hospital.
The Congress, badly beaten by Modi in an election this year, is trying to find ways to make a political comeback.
The party criticized state authorities.
“Instead of reaching out to the families of the victims, the government is trying to prevent opposition leaders only to hide the truth from the public,” Congress said in a statement.


US and China seeking to revive trade talks: Trump adviser Sum Obist lique

In this file photo taken on August 6, 2019 White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks to the media on the driveway of the White House in Washington, DC. (AFP)
Updated 19 August 2019

US and China seeking to revive trade talks: Trump adviser Sum Obist lique

  • The US-China negotiations began in earnest in January and seemed at first to make substantial progress, raising hopes that a trade deal could be rapidly reached

BUENOS AIRES: Washington and Beijing are working actively to revive negotiations aimed at ending the trade war that has rattled world markets, Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser said Sunday.
If teleconferences between both sides’ deputies pan out in the next 10 days “and we can have a substantive renewal of negotiations,” Larry Kudlow said on Fox News Sunday, “then we are planning to have China come to the US and meet with our principals to continue the negotiations.”
That left it uncertain, however, whether a Chinese delegation would be coming to Washington next month, as a White House spokesperson predicted after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left a round of trade talks in Shanghai in July.
But Kudlow emphasized that phone conversations held last week to follow up on the Shanghai talks — involving Lighthizer, Mnuchin and two senior Chinese negotiators, Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Secretary Zhong Shan — were “a lot more positive than has been reported in the media.”
World financial markets have been on edge amid a series of signs pointing to a serious slowing of the global economy — notably because of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies — and have been reacting strongly to even the slightest new indicator.
The US-China negotiations began in earnest in January and seemed at first to make substantial progress, raising hopes that a trade deal could be rapidly reached.
But during the spring, the US president abruptly called off the talks, saying the Chinese had reneged on earlier commitments.
The discussions resumed again in June at the highest levels in the margins of the G-20 summit meeting in Osaka, Japan between Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
But markets were hit with a fresh surprise when Trump suddenly announced that as of Sept. 1 he was imposing punitive 10-percent tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods that had so far been spared.
And then came the announcement from the White House that Trump — already campaigning for re-election in 2020 — had decided to delay imposing the tariffs until Dec. 15 so as not to cast a shadow on the Christmas shopping plans of Americans.