Four Dalits were killed and 25 injured in an attack, allegedly by members of a Backward Class community, at Lakshmipeta of Vangara mandal, 55 km from here, on Tuesday morning. The condition of four, admitted in the Rajam area hospital was stated to be critical.
As a majority of police personnel had been drafted for the by-election duty in Narasannapeta, the attackers backed by 'village elders' took advantage of the situation to indulge in bloodbath. Police reached the spot two-and-a-half hours after the attack that took place at 8 a.m.
The victims have been identified as Burada Sundara Rao (45), Chitri Appadu (35), Nivarti Venkati (65) and Nivarti Sangameshu (40).
According to the police and locals, differences arose between the two communities over use of leftover land alienated for the Madduvalasa reservoir. The government acquired lands for the reservoir but a portion of it remained vacant. With both sections claiming ownership, the district administration's efforts to bring about a rapprochement did not bear fruit.
A police picket had been posted in the village to avert clashes. But after several police personnel left for poll duty at Narsannapeta, the dominant section went on the rampage attacking the dalits with crude bombs, sickles, hatchets, axes and other weapons.
The shocked Dalits could neither retaliate nor run for safety.
"My father Venkati begged with folded hands to spare him saying the entire family depended on him. But the attackers did not heed his appeal and killed him on the spot," said a shocked Anuradha who had become unconscious after witnessing the attack.
The State government decided to inquire into the Lakshmipeta incident under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The government will pay compensation of Rs.2 lakh to each bereaved family member.
According to district Collector G. Venkatram Reddy, Minister for Medical Education Kondru Muralimohan will distribute Rs.1.5 lakh to each of four families on Wednesday and the remaining Rs.50, 000 will be distributed after the thorough inquiry and court verdict.
Interim probe report
Meanwhile, Palakonda Revenue Divisional Officer S. Venkateswara Rao submitted an interim inquiry report to the Collector. According to him, all the deceased were agriculture labourers and were the bread winners for their respective families.
A CPI(M) team consisting of Bhaviri Krishnamurthy and Panchadi Papa Rao visited the village demanded an ex gratia Rs.10 lakh and 5 acres of land to each family.
Palakonda Revenue Divisional Officer Saluru Venkateswara Rao assured the victims' families that their grievances would be taken the notice of the government.
[Courtesy: The Hindu, June 13, 2012]