The activists were arrested while they were on their way to meet a group of Dalits in Guntur district who had been attacked allegedly by upper caste men over a minor issue.

Unfair to curb democratic dissent Andhra Dalit activists cry foul over house arrestFacebook/Sanker Vadisetti
news Protest Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 16:40

Left party leaders and Dalit activists who wanted to visit and express solidarity with the agitating Dalits of P Gottipadu village in Guntur district, were foiled from doing so after being taken into preventive custody.

G ShantaKumar (Solidarity Committee President), Korri Vinayakumar Congress SC cell, and several leaders were arrested on their way to Peda Gottipadu and detained at Medikonduru police station along with senior activist Y Koteshwar Rao.

A group of Dalits in Pedda Gottipadu village were attacked allegedly by upper caste men over a minor brawl which broke out on January 1. Six Dalits were injured and two of them are still undergoing treatment at a hospital but the accused have not been arrested so far.

Speaking to TNM, advocate Y Koteshwar Rao said, "Police are trying to water down the Dalits struggle by foisting cases on them, and not arresting the main culprits in the case."

He said as many as 300 activists who were headed to Peda Gottipadu were arrested and taken away to different police stations.

Multiple efforts by TNM to reach out to the activists went in vain.

Koteshwar Rao has demanded scrapping of the cases filed against the Dalits.

The Dalit tenant farmers from the village are allegedly being pressured to return the lands given to them on lease. Moreover, a Dalit youth working at a milk procurement centre at Peda Gottipadu was removed from the job, The New Indian Express reported.

Left parties and Dalit rights’ groups have given a call for 'Chalo Peda Gottipadu programme' on Wednesday, demanding the arrest of the accused.

CPI (M) leader, Y Venkateshwar Rao, alleged that as a precautionary measure, the police arrested some Dalit youths in the village on Monday to foil the ‘Chalo Peda Gottipadu’ programme.

He said that hundreds of police personnel were being deployed in the village, in the name of maintaining “law and order”.

If the atrocities against Dalits continue in the village, we will give a call for “Chalo Guntur”, he threatened.

He informed that "In Guntur district alone, as many as 25 DYFI and other civil rights activists were taken into custody in the last two days. Today, by now, around 70-80 activists from the Left parties and Dalit groups have been taken into custody.”

The CPI (M) state secretary, P Madhu , was taken into custody on Tuesday, according to the leaders.

Speaking to TNM from an undisclosed location, CPI state secratary , K Ramakrishna,  said, "It is highly condemnable and unfair on the part of TDP government to curb democratic dissent."

He alleged that atrocities against Dalits in the state have gone up under TDP rule, and further, the culprits are not being brought to book. 

Meanwhile, Pedda Gottipadu village is seemingly cordoned off by the police in order to prevent further trouble and Section 144 has been imposed.

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