A Dalit father and son were brutally hacked to death allegedly by three persons from the Mudiraj (OBC community) family on Tuesday over a land dispute in the Rajanna Sircilla district of Telangana.
The victims were identified as Shyamalapalli Yellaiah and his son Shekar of Kishtapur village, Ellanthakunta mandal. The incident took place around 6 am.
The victims were reportedly on their way to the disputed field. However, their tractor stopped midway after running out of fuel. Yellaiah’s youngest son Anil went to get fuel. While the duo were waiting for Anil to return, the attackers, identified as Devaiah, Swamy and Venkatesh, hacked them to death with machetes.
The murder sparked tensions in the area, with activists from across the state thronging the village to protest for justice. The activists also filed a prevention of SC/ST atrocity case against the DSP of Ellanthakunta and the Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) for not giving the FIR copy of the incident.
Police clarified that it was a land dispute and not a caste-based murder. They said that the two families had been quarrelling over the land – 39 guntas – for many years, with both the parties claiming rights over it. Police added that the land records show that the land was registered in the name of the attackers.
Speaking to TNM, Rajanna Sircilla SP Rahul Hegde said, “The murders happened over a land dispute. The dispute has been happening for many years. The land was registered in the name of the attackers, and when they (deceased) went to plough it, they obstructed and killed them.”
Police have taken all the three accused into custody and charged them with murder.
Activist Sujatha Surepally, convener of the Bahujan Prathighatana Vedika, who visited the village and met Yellaiah’s family, alleged that the land originally belonged to the victims, but was transferred to the Mudiraj family by the MRO fraudulently.
“The locals are saying that the land belongs to Yellaiah. He had all the records, but within a few years, the land records were changed by the MRO, claiming that Yellaiah’s brother had sold the land. Since then, the victims would be frequently assaulted, for which they filed an SC/ST atrocity case against the attackers.”
Sujatha alleged that despite the SC/ST prevention of atrocity case filed, the Deputy Superintendent of Police did not take effective action.
She said, “This is a failure of the system… in spite of the victims approaching the DSP, he didn’t take proper action against the attackers. They did a namesake inquiry and closed the case citing lack of evidence and claiming that the version of the victim’s wife and husband did not match.”