Conflict
Police said that members of the Banjara Seva Samithi had planned to stop Soyam Bapu Rao from attending a function in Armoor town.
Image: Facebook/Soyam Bapurao

Fearing potential violence, the Telangana police placed Adilabad MP Soyam Bapu Rao under house arrest at his residence in Hyderabad's Boduppal area on Monday.

The house arrest, was to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from attending a felicitation programme in Nizamabad district's Armoor town. The police said that as there was no permission for the event, they were forced to deploy personnel outside the MP's house.

While the MP claimed that it was just a small felicitation function, Armoor ACP Ande Ramulu said that police permission was denied as members of the Banjara Seva Samithi had planned to stop Soyam Bapu Rao from attending the function.

Police feared that allowing the BJP MP to attend the event may stoke violence as there is an ongoing rift between Adivasis and Lambadas in Telangana.

In response to the house arrest, media reports state that adivasis staged rasta rokos and dharnas and burnt effigies across erstwhile Adilabad district on Monday evening, alleging that the Telangana government was favouring the Lambada community.

Tension has been brewing since October 2017, after an incident of vandalism that took place at the tribal museum at Jodeghat in Asifabad district, where the statue of a Lambada woman was allegedly damaged.

The adivasis, mainly Gond tribals, have been arguing that the Lambadas did not participate in the uprising against the last Nizam of Hyderabad, led by Komaram Bheem, in the 1940s.

Gonds have also been pointing out that the Lambadas were included in the ST list in the state only in 1976 in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, and have dubbed it a 'backdoor entry'.

They claim that the Banjara community is biased against them and is reaping the benefits of having a Scheduled Tribe status without having significant historical contributions. They have been demanding that Banjara Lambadas be removed from the ST list.

The Gond adivasis even declared ‘self-rule’ on June 1, 2018.

Read: Ground report: An agitation that is costing Adivasis in Adilabad their kids’ education