Dalit men assaulted by YSRCP leader Thota Trimurthulu demand stricter punishment

Thota Trimurthulu was the independent MLA of Ramachandrapuram in 1996 when he and others forcibly tonsured and beat up Dalit men for not supporting him in the 1994 Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections.
YSRCP leader Thota Trimurthulu
YSRCP leader Thota Trimurthulu
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The Dalit men who were forcibly tonsured and assaulted by YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) leader Thota Trimurthulu held a press conference on Sunday, June 16, demanding stricter punishment for those convicted in the case. The victims asked the state government to file an appeal in the High Court and demanded that they be represented by a competent public prosecutor. In April this year, a Visakhapatnam court had convicted Trimurthulu and eight others in the case. All the accused, barring one individual who passed away, were sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, along with a fine of Rs 42,000 each.

Trimurthulu was the independent MLA of Ramachandrapuram in undivided East Godavari district in 1996 when he, along with others, forcibly tonsured Koti Chinna Raju and Dadala Venkata Ratnam and beat up three others — Challapudi Pattabhiramayya, Kanikella Ganapati, and Puvvala Venkata Ramana — for not supporting them in the 1994 Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections. The Dalit men were polling agents of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in that election.

During the press conference, which the Dalit victims held with the support of groups like the Dalita Aikya Porata Vedika and the Human Rights Forum (HRF), requested the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led the state government to appeal in the High Court against the verdict of the Visakhapatnam court. They also sought the appointment of a competent public prosecutor to argue the case in the High Court.

“For the last 27 years, various governments, irrespective of political parties, have been protecting Trimurthulu. As per the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Trimurthulu should have been sentenced to five years imprisonment. But he got a lenient sentence because the system supports him,” Dalita Aikya Porata Vedika committee convenor Bheema Sankaram told TNM.

Also Read: 27 yrs after assaulting Dalit men who didn't support him, YSRCP candidate convicted

Challapudi Pattabhiramayya and Koti Chinna Raju, both victims in the case, said that even the limited conviction was got only after the Andhra Pradesh High Court pressured the Visakhapatnam court to speed things up.

Retired public prosecutor Malleshwar Rao, also fighting alongside the victims, said that during the investigation, police officials argued that the victims had converted to Christianity as they frequented a church. Citing this, they were classified under Backward Classes (BC-C).

“In addition to our fight for justice, we are also concerned over our children not getting their caste certificates yet,” Chinna Raju said.

“The High Court disagreed with the BC-C classification made by the investigating officials. However, neither the victims nor their children have still received their SC certificates from the Revenue Department,” Rao added.

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