Dominant caste men attack tribal family in Telangana over pigs ‘ruining’ paddy

Three men from a dominant Backward Class caste had publicly beaten up a family of three belonging to the Yerukala Scheduled Tribe, and tied two of them to an electric pole after parading them through the streets.
Yerukala Ramachandram and his brother Savaranna tied to a pole near Gandhi centre
Yerukala Ramachandram and his brother Savaranna tied to a pole near Gandhi centre
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Three men belonging to a dominant Backward Class (BC) caste have been arrested in Ananthapuram village of Telangana’s Jogulamba Gadwal district, for publicly beating up three people of the Yerukala Scheduled Tribe (ST) and tying two of them to an electric pole, after parading them through the streets. The trio is learnt to have attacked the family of three, including a woman, after accusing them of “letting their pigs venture into their paddy fields and destroy their crops”. The police arrested K Venkatramulu, Prakash and Ushan, along with another person belonging to a Scheduled Caste (SC) group, on Friday, September 9, a day after the incident took place.

According to the police, the three men from the dominant BC caste had initially approached Yerukala Ramachandram and his brother Savaranna to castigate them, alleging that their pigs had ruined their crops. The accused then began to beat them up, even attacking Ramachandram’s wife Ramulamma when she tried to stop them. Yerukalas, who are technically identified under the ST category in Telangana, are a lower caste community whose traditional livelihood involves pig rearing and making household items from bamboo or silver palm tree materials.

Recounting his ordeal, Ramachandram said that they were mercilessly dragged along the road by the perpetrators, despite repeatedly telling them that he had ensured that his pigs don't go into their paddy fields. “Three people first beat us up with sticks and stones, even after I fell down. They then paraded us to the Gandhi centre, where they tied me and my brother to a pole using a rope and started to hit us again,” he said.

Ramachandram said that he was beaten up even more when he tried to sit on a katta (a chair-like space) near the Gandhi statue. “Venkatramulu’s son hit me on the eye,” he said, adding that they also hurled casteist abuses at the women from the Yerukala community. “They attacked us without even confirming if it was our pigs or wild boars that damaged their crops,” he added.

Speaking to TNM, Gadwal Rural Sub Inspector Anand said that while three of the accused persons belonged to a BC caste, another person who was complicit in the assault was of the SC community. “We took swift action as soon as the matter came to our notice. Three of them have been booked three under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act along with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. The SC accused who assisted the three men has also been booked under relevant sections,” the officer said. 

In September last year, a 23-year-old Yerukala man from Bhoothpur of Mahbubnagar district had died after an alleged physical attack by people of the Goud community for partaking and dancing in the community’s Ganesh procession.

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