The Telangana police on Sunday arrested the brother of a ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti MLA for brutally assaulting a woman forest officer with sticks when she along with other forest officials were trying to take up afforestation in Sarasala village in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district in the morning.
District Superintendent of Police P Malla Reddy said TRS leader Koneru Krishna Rao, who was recently elected as Zilla Parishad vice-chairman, was taken into custody along with 15 others, including his close aide Pochamallu, for indiscriminately assaulting forest range officer Cholle Anitha.
Krishna Rao is the brother of TRS MLA from Sirpur-Kaghaznagar assembly constituency, Koneru Konappa.
“We have registered a case against Krishna Rao and others under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 353, 332, 307, 147, 148, 427, 507 and 149,” the SP said, assuring all protection to the forest officials.
An hour before his arrest, Rao announced his resignation from the post of ZP vice-chairman. He said he was resigning from the post in protest against the high-handed behaviour of the forest officials against tribal farmers who were undertaking shifting cultivation in the village.
He told the local reporters that the forest officials had come in tractors belonging to Congress leaders and behaved rudely with the tribals, who pointed out that the department cannot take up any work in their private land.
#WATCH Telangana: A police team & forest guards were attacked allegedly by Telangana Rashtra Samithi workers in Sirpur Kagaznagar block of Komaram Bheem Asifabad district, during a tree plantation drive. (29.06.2019) pic.twitter.com/pZ0H3Qg2Ud
— ANI (@ANI) June 30, 2019
A video taken on a mobile phone by one of the forest guards showed that Krishna Rao was wielding a stick and attacking the forest staff. One of his associates attacked Anitha with a stick and she fell down bleeding from the head. There were a few policemen, including a couple of women personnel, but they remained helpless as the enraged TRS workers were attacking the forest staff.
The police said Anitha was later shifted to a private hospital in Kaghaznagar, where she is undergoing treatment.
The SP later visited Anitha in hospital and recorded her statement. He assured her of stringent action against those responsible.
According to the police quoting a complaint by the forest authorities, Anitha along with the other forest officials went to Sarasala village in Sirpur Kaghaznagar block, in tractors to undertake Haritha Haram, a tree plantation programme in 20 acres of land.
“The land was assigned to the department in lieu of the forest cover which was acquired by the state irrigation department for construction of Kaleshwaram multi-purpose irrigation project,” the department authorities told the police.
However, the local tribals resisted the afforestation programme stating that the land belonged to them and they had been cultivating it for several years. Following a call from the tribals, Krishna Rao and his party leaders arrived and entered into an argument with Anitha and the others from the department.
As the forest authorities tried to go ahead with tilling of the land, the irate TRS leaders and local tribals started attacking the officials with sticks.
Anitha alleged that Krishna Rao dragged her by holding her hair. In a bid to escape from him, she climbed the tractor but he and other TRS activists went on the rampage and attacked her with sticks.
TRS working president K T Rama Rao strongly condemned the atrocious behaviour of the party leader who attacked the forest officer who was doing her job. “He has been arrested and a case has been registered already. No one is above the law of the land,” he tweeted.
Environment and forests minister P Indrakaran Reddy said stern action would be taken against those who attacked forest officer Anitha and her staff. He said an enquiry would be ordered. “If there is any issue with the forest department, it should have been brought to the government’s notice. But attacking the forest officials is highly condemnable,” he said.
Jun 30, 2019 19:29 IST
TRS leader arrested for assaulting woman forest officer in Telangana – Hindustan Times