In yet another incident of violence between locals and officials of the Forest Department in Telangana, two forest officials were attacked on Monday night, allegedly after they stopped some locals from ploughing forest land with a tractor in the limits of Gundalapadu village in Bhadradri Kothagudem district.
The incident took place in Mulakalapalli forest range. The two officers have also filed a complaint with the police and are being treated at a local hospital. A case has been registered under Section 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (Voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (Criminal Intimidation) read with149 (Unlawful assembly) of the IPC with the Mulakalapalli police.
"Police will take strict action against those involved in attack on government official discharging their lawful duties. We have requested Forest officials to inform police and have assured to provide security to them while removing forest encroachment," Bhadadri Kothagudem Superintendent of Police Sunil Dutt said in a statement.
In another incident on Monday, TRS MLA from Kothagudem, Vanama Venkateshwara Rao and his son Raghava, were booked for allegedly obstructing forest officials from doing their duty at Lothuvagu village in Kothagudem district. Forest Range Officer MRP Rao complained to the local police that the MLA, his son, and three others had abused the forest staff at Lothuvagu.
Telangana: Two forest officials were attacked last night when they stopped some people from ploughing forest land with a tractor, in Mandalapalli of Bhadradri Kothagudem district. The two officers have lodged a complaint with police. pic.twitter.com/QiHnutzymJ— ANI (@ANI) July 2, 2019
The issue began when the forest officials began constructing a protective wall at Lothuvagu. Following this, around 80 locals led by Punem Srinu, a former MPTC member reached the spot. The locals alleged they had pattas (documents) for the land where the wall was being built, while officials maintained that the land was a property of the Forest Department.
On Sunday, violence had broken out at Sarsala village, where a forest officer, Anitha, was attacked by a stick-wielding mob and had to be rushed to a hospital for treatment. The violence had broken out during an afforestation programme taken up by the state government. TRS leader Koneru Krishna, the brother of Sirpur MLA Koneru Konappa, was arrested for leading the mob.
In a press note, the Forest Divisional Officer in Kagaznagar alleged that the MLA’s brother and some locals carried out the attack as they had a ‘malafide intention’ to occupy the Reserve Forest land. However, locals claimed that they had been cultivating the land for decades.
On Monday, under heavy police security, officials continued the afforestation programme and planted 22,000 saplings in the contentious site of forest land, spread over 20 hectares, at Sarasala village.