Claiming that a sand-laden lorry snuffed out yet another life on Wednesday in Telangana's Sircilla district, the state's Congress President N Uttam Kumar Reddy accused Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao of shielding the sand mafia in the area.
Uttam alleged that a Dalit farmer from Pothugal village, identified as Shankar, succumbed to his injuries in a hospital, after he was crushed by a speeding sand lorry in Sircilla.
â€œAnother Dalit family lost its bread earner due to the negligence of the TRS government. When will KCR wake up from his slumber? How many more Dalits will be sacrificed for the sake of sand mafia? KCR is sacrificing the lives of poor people for his personal gains. On an average, one person is getting killed every 10 days in Sircilla due to sand mafia vehicles running them over. But KCR and KTR are giving preference to illegal wealth over people's lives. KTR was elected by the people of Sircilla. But he is not protecting their lives," Uttam was quoted as saying.
He also said that the Congress party had documentary proof, to show that KCR's 'close relative' Santosh Rao was behind the sand mafia.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former MP V Hanumanth Rao demanded that KCR and KTR visit Nerella village in Sircilla and interact with victims of the alleged custodial torture.
The entire controversy began after a sand lorry hit and killed B Bhudaiah of Nerella village on July 2. This death, had sparked massive anger, as this was the fourth such death from nearby villages.
After the incident, police detained eight villagers (Dalits) from Nerella of Rajanna-Siricilla district for allegedly torching a sand-laden truck.
The victims were then allegedly subjected to third-degree torture, and also claimed to be verbally abused with casteist slurs.
National SC/ST Commission member Ramulu visited the village later, and demanded the transfer of Rajanna Siricilla Superintendent of Police, SP Vishwajit and suspension of the Circle Inspector over the incident. He also appealed to the National SC/ST Commission to conduct an inquiry.
Ramulu demanded a job, ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh and three-acre land for each of the victims.