In a shocking incident, a Dalit woman was allegedly dragged and had her clothes torn off, after she objected to the digging of a pit at Jerripothulapalem village in Visakhapatnam district.
The incident took place in Pendurthi mandal on Tuesday, where the woman alleged that she was attacked by TDP workers.
CPI activists claimed that the police station did not register the woman's complaint initially, until party workers staged a demonstration on Wednesday.
Speaking to TNM, CPI, Greater Visakhapatnam secretary, M Pydiraju, said, "There were many Dalit families in the area who had been engaged in agriculture in a land in survey number 77, after it was assigned to them by the government many years ago."
â€śAll of a sudden, yesterday (Tuesday) evening, TDP workers brought JCB machines and destroyed crops that were being cultivated. Because of this, the enraged Dalits protested. In retaliation, they assaulted her and tore her clothes,â€ť Pydiraju added.
Speaking to TNM, the investigating officer said that the attack was the result of a small land dispute, and nothing else.
"It was a land dispute, and it was not based on her caste. Some members of the BC community were digging a foundation pit as they had been allotted some land under a housing scheme of the state government," ACP Arjun said.
"Some members of the SC community then protested, stating that they wanted the same plot. A heated argument broke out, following which they dragged the lady," he added.
Initially, it was reported that the woman had objected to the digging work for some project, but the police have since dismissed it.
A case has been registered under Sec 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and sections of the Scheduled Castes & Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
"The investigation is underway, and more details will be revealed later," the ACP said, adding that all castes in the villages lived in harmony.