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Dominant caste people forcefully tonsured Yarlagadda Babu (James), belonging to Madiga (SC) caste, a resident of Velagaveru village, Penumantra mandal of West Godavari district. Panchayat elections were held on 17.8.2001 in Velagaveru village. Gudimetla Satyanarayan Reddy and Gudimetla Subareddy contested for the post of Sarpanch and Satyanarayana Reddy’s group won the entire election, except for Hanumantharao, who lost to Koteswarao from the opposition group in SC Peta ward No. 2. Against this background, there were fight between the Madigas in the village and eight of the nine supporters of Koteswarao were arrested. Yarlagadda Babu (James), who was the prime accused, absconded and went to court at Tanuku. When the Assistant Sub-Inspector told him that his name was not in the list he started for his village on 22.8.2001 night. When he reached the hut of Edala Achi Reddy, Gudimetla Satyanarayana (Sarpanch), Kvvuri Prathap Reddy (Society President), Padala Achi Reddy (Former Sarpanch), Kayala Sathulu, Sirla Jogi Reddy, Sathi Chinna Reddy and Satita Somi Reddy pounced on Babu, severely beat him up, gagged him, bound his hands behind his back and tied him to a coconut tree. They shaved off one of his eyebrows and tonsured him. Kovuri Subbareddy saw Babu who was moaning in pain and informed Yarlagadda Lakshmaiah and Paparao, who untied him. They informed VAO Buchi Venkatareddy of the matter. The police ASI and PC reached the village even before a complaint had been filed. Sub-Inspector V. Subramanyam shifted the victim to the government hospital at Tanuku for treatment.
Narsapuram DSP Babji came to the place of the incident on 24.8.2001 night and told them to come to his bungalow, without taking any complaint. There was neither enquiry nor any arrest of the accused. There was no result for the protest held in front of the mandal office by the victim’s family members and Dalit and people’s organisations. The dominant caste people attacked the village and created mayhem. The Dalit men ran away from the homes out of fear and the Reddys scolded the Dalit women using their caste name and with other abusive language. They threatened the women that they will demolish their houses with tractors and create another Tsundur (Dalit massacre). The police remained as spectators and did not provide any security to the Dalit women. The investigating officer, Narsapuram DSP Babji never came to the village nor recorded the statements of the victims or to the witnesses. Further, he replied to inquiries by a committee member on 27.9.2001 stating that the case was under investigation and they would not conduct the investigation in haste. Even though there were sufficient witnesses and evidence, the accused were not arrested and efforts were made to weaken the enquiry.
Dominant caste people forcefully tonsured Chilakapati Israel because he worked against them during the panchayat elections. Chilakapati Israel, s/o Narasimhulu, is working as labourer in the rice mills. He is a Dalit, belonging to Mala (SC) caste. Both Gannamveedu Jayaprasad and Gadapathiveedu, belonging to the Kamma caste, contested for the post of Sarpanch in the August 2001 elections. Israel, the victim, supported one Subbarao in the elections. But Jayaprasad got elected in the election.
Against this background, on 21.8.2001, Jayaprasad came to Israel and told him that Polisetty Sathyanarayana (Dasu) was calling him. Though Israel replied that he would come the next day morning, he was forced to sit on a motor-cycle and was taken to Lingakaram centre. There Jayaprasad abused Israel using filthy language and shouted at him “why did you not tonsure your head... you said that you would tonsure your head if Subbarao lost in the elections.” He then called the nearby barber, Andanalapalli Nageswar Rao and instructed him to tonsure Israel\\\'s head. When the barber refused, Jayaprasad threw Rs. 2,000/- in a bundle at the barber. Even then the barber refused. Then Polisetty Ramakrishna Borusukoinda, Polisetty Chinnari, Polisetty Prasad and Chintapalli Sathyanarayana dragged Israel to the house of Jayaprasad.
There Polisetty Prasad demanded why Israel had not tonsured his head. When Israel replied that Jayaprasad won the elections by rigging the ballot box and challenged them that the matter would be decided in the court, Jayaprasad got up from the chair and kicked Israel in his chest. He instructed his people to tonsure Israel. His followers abused Israel using filthy language and caste name, bound his hands behind his back and tied him to a pole. Polisetty Ramakrishna then cut off Israel’s eyebrows, moustache and hair with scissors. Then Jayaprasad told his followers to fetch either a donkey or buffalo to parade Israel around the streets so that this “Mala son of a bitch” will learn a lesson. But by that time Israel\\\'s wife, Kumari and the village elders came and Jayaprasad let Israel go after again abusing him using filthy language. The police reached the village even without a complaint from anyone and Israel explained the incident to them. Immediately a FIR was filed under sec. 143, 141 and 323 IPC and under sec. 3(1)(iii) SC/ST (POA) Act. Israel started fasting when an inquiry was not conducted and the culprits were not arrested. People\\\'s organisations supported Israel and several times requested police officials to provide justice to Israel.
The investigation was to be done by Narsapuram DSP Babji, but Rajahmundry DSP L.S. Chowhan instead visited the village, enquired with the villagers and Israel and recorded their complaints. He told the leaders of Dalit and people’s organisations that the Israel tonsure case was a false case. Narsapuram DSP Babji told them later that the Rajahmundry DSP had mentioned that this case was a false case in his report. When the committee members asked the Rajahmundry DSP for an explanation, he told them that he did not mention that this was a totally false case, but wrote that it was established that Israel was taken up to Lingakaram centre and the barber was told to tonsure him. But evidence was not available for the incidents which were supposed to have taken place afterwards. He told them that his report findings had been submitted to officials and they could get a copy from the court.
On 5.4.2001, the Mahabubnagar district administration conducted a public temple entry and function with the Dalits belonging to Madiga (SC) of Tankara village. The next day, once all the police and officials had left, the village person-in-charge Achanna, speaking on behalf of the village elders, threatened the Dalit community and demanded a fine of Rs. 5000/- for their having entered the temple. The Dalits were forced to pay the fine; and though they reported the incident to police, district officials and even ministers, six months passed and no action was taken against the offenders.
In a much-publicised function, the Mahabubnagar district administration on 5.4.2001 arranged and carried out a temple entry for the Dalits of Tankara village. The temple entry was followed by a common public dining – Dalits and caste Hindus together – intended as a sign of the eradication of untouchability which had forbidden both temple entry and inter-dining between Dalits and dominant castes in the village. A Cabinet Minister and senior TDP leader Nagam Janardhan Reddy, along with district, senior, revenue and police officials and representatives of the press led the Dalits in the temple entry. Dominant caste village elders, including the village person-in-charge Achanna (the effective village leader in the interregnum between one elected sarpanch and the next), kept their opposition silent during the events and participated in the function.
The next day, 6.4.2001, as soon as all of the officials had left the village, Achanna and other village elders, all dominant caste, summoned the Dalits of Tankara and demanded from the Dalits a collective fine of Rs. 5000/- for their having entered the village temple. Under threat, the Dalits pooled their resources and paid the fine. They then reported the incident to local police, district officials and also to the Minister who had been present at the function the day before. All of this resulted in no action whatsoever on the part of the police and administration.
When Sakshi and Dalit Bahujan Vyavasaya Vrithyadarula Union leaders met with the concerned minister on 13.9.2001 in connection with this case, the Minister expressed frustration that the police had been inactive for six months. Still, however, the negligence continues and the perpetrators have faced no legal consequences.
Gurrala Surya Rao, belonging to Mala (SC) caste from Guntru wari peta village of Sanapalli Lanka Mandal, East Godavari district committed suicide in the premises of the First Additional Munsif Magistrate Court at Amalapuram. Gurrala Surya Rao (50 years age) was living honourably and held a good name in society. He was a former sarpanch. When he died, he was the President of the Rythu Bazar and was fighting for Dalits’ rights. In this process, his confrontation with police endangered his existence and he was forced to commit suicide.
Surya Rao took a buffalo from Pithani Suryanarayana of the same village on an agreement that he would rear the buffalo and that the income would be shared equally during the lactation period. After a few days, when he told Suryanarayana that the buffalo was missing, Suryanarayana got suspicious and gave a complaint to the police. This was taken as an opportunity and the police came to Suryarao’s house on 1.3.2001 at around 12:00 midnight and told him that the Sub-Inspector was calling him. Police further scolded him using filthy language and tried to drag him to the police station. On Sunday, 4.3.2001 Sub-Inspector Devakumar came to Suryarao’s house and abused him using filthy language, dragged him to the police station, locked him up, disrobed him and tortured him. He also abused Suryarao’s wife, Prema Jyothi (45 years) using filthy language, threatened that he would insert a lathi in her private parts, disrobe her and have her raped by a person infected with AIDS in front of her husband and kill her husband. The village elders came to know about this discussed the matter with the Sub-Inspector and brought Suryarao home.
Unable to bear this humiliation, the next day, on 5.3.2001, Suryarao consumed poison pills, went to the First Additional Munsif Magistrate Court at Amalapuram, handed over an envelope to Magistrate R. Sharath Babu and while coming out fell down on the staircase of the court. The Magistrate opened the envelope, understood the issue and recorded the dying statement of Suryarao and sent him to hospital. However, Suryarao died on the way to the hospital. The Government held an enquiry through a Magistrate, but no one was arrested.
Police Sub-Inspector M.A. Khader Ali, working in Maganur mandal’s Krishna police station, poured kerosene on Yadamma on 28.2.2001 around 5:00 p.m. in her house and murdered her on 5.3.2001. Yadamma, belonging to Madiga (SC) caste, comes from an educated and government employed Dalit family. Her father is a retired teacher and her mother is working as headmistress in a school at Koilkonda Harijana colony. Yadamma was their first child. Yadamma completed her training as a nurse in 1992 in Nandyal and in the same year married Khaja, who was working as ward-boy in Atmakur mandal Primary Health Centre. She got employment as a health worker in 1993 and was working in the primary health centre at Marikel. She had one son and two daughters and was living happily with her family. She also had a good name among her co-workers.
She was transferred to the primary health centre at Vinjamoor in 1994. In 1995, when she went to the police station, along with a doctor and other workers, to report about a theft in their centre, Khader Ali, who was working as Sub-Inspector in the same police station, saw her. He used his police authority to threaten Yadamma and made her yield to an extra-marital affair with him. He separated her from her husband. Her children were staying with her mother. Since 1996, away from her husband, Yadamma lived a miserable and lonely life tolerating the torture from Khader Ali. When this torture became unbearable, she submitted a petition to the District Superintendent of Police, who transferred Khader Ali to the district headquarters as reserve force. This gave more leisure time to Khader Ali, who forced Yadamma to shift her residence to Mahabubnagar town. He then fell into the pattern of habitually torturing Yadamma each time he got into a drunken state.
Khader Ali stayed with Yadamma from 24.2.2001 at her house. A dispute erupted between them over a gold chain on 28.2.2001. The gold chain (belonging to Khader Ali’s daughter) was given to Yadamma. Khader Ali ignored her pleas when she told him that she sold it because the entire salary was taken away by him without leaving a single paisa for house running costs and that she would sell ear-studs and another gold chain which she had and get his gold chain back. He poured kerosene, which was kept near the cooking place, on Yadamma and set her on fire. When she tried to run out of the house due to unbearable pain, he pushed her back into the house and shut the doors on her. The neighbours heard her cries, came and doused the fire and took her to the hospital in Mahabubnagar. Her back, chest, hands and legs were severely burnt and she was admitted into the district government hospital on 28.2.2001 with 90% burns. She died on 5.3.2001. Deputy Superintendent of Police visited the victim at the district government hospital at Mahabubnagar. The case was booked under sec. 307 IPC read with sec. (3)(2)(v) SC/ST (POA) Act, and Khader Ali was arrested and put on remand. Orders were issued suspending Khader Ali from service.