People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 05, 2007
Mowing Down Peaceful Agitators
WITH further intensification of the land struggle of the poor in Andhra Pradesh led by the CPI(M), CPI and 195 mass organisations, the repressive measures of the Congress government assumed inhuman proportions, shedding the blood of the agitators. Seven innocent people were killed including a woman, at Mudigonda in Khammam district in police firing. 16 others were injured.
At Mudigonda, when about one thousand poor people led by the CPI(M) and the Telugu Desam Party were conducting rasta roko, a circle inspector and another sub inspector of police entered into arguments with the agitators, demanding them to give up raasta roko and threatened them of resorting to lathicharge. Reviling the local CPI(M) leader, Bandi Ramesh, the police started beating him up black and blue. When the agitators were questioning the police action and trying to release him from the clutches of the police, the additional SP, who arrived there with additional police forces, ordered firing.
Anti-naxal squad in plain clothes shooting the agitators with AK-47s.
The police, which now included anti-naxalite squad personnel in plain clothes who carried AK-47s, started to fire on unarmed peaceful agitators without any prior warning. It is mandatory that the police first announce to the people its intention to resort to firing, and then fire in the air and later if necessary fire below the waist. None of this was followed. In the indiscriminate firing by the police, four people died on the spot and another two people, who were injured in the firing, died while being shifted to a hospital. The seventh person died three days later in a hospital in Hyderabad. All of them had bullet wounds above the waist. One aged person was fired on the head.
Another sixteen people were injured in the firing. The police fired 100 rounds which reflects their brutality.
Protesting the police brutality at Mudigonda, thousands of people from all over the district laid seize to the district collectorate at Khammam, keeping the dead bodies of the victims of the police firing there. The talks the district collector, Sasibhushan, had with the leaders of the CPI(M) and other parties failed. With the district collector not responding positively to the demands put forth by the leaders, of payment of exgratia of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the six people who died in the police firing, providing employment to one member each of their families and registering criminal cases against the additional SP, circle inspector Surender Reddy and sub inspector Venkatreddy - the people continued their agitation keeping the dead bodies in front of the collectorate. In the talks with the district collector, CPI(M) leaders Nomula Narasimhaiah, floor leader of the Party in the legislative assembly, DCCB chairman T S Prasad and MLA Katta Venkatanarsayya, TDP leader S Venkataveeraiah, TRS leader Haribabu and CPI(ML) New Democracy leader K Rangayya participated.
Anguished cries of a woman as her husband dies in her lap.
Strongly condemning the police firing at Mudigonda, killing six people, the CPI(M), CPI and TDP gave a call for bandh in Khammam district and protest demonstrations all over the state on July 29. B V Raghavulu and K Narayana, state secretaries of the CPI(M) and CPI, respectively, in a statement, said that the police firing was making it clear that the Congress government had hatched a conspiracy to suppress the movement on the land issue with inhuman methods.
B V Raghavulu said that the statement of the government’s chief whip in the assembly, Kirankumar Reddy, that those who had given the call for bandh should take the responsibility for the death of several people in the police firing reveals their demonic nature. The police of the Khammam district had resorted to firing as a part and parcel of the Congress to suppress the CPI(M), which has been strong in that district, he said. Reminding that in the past when a picketing conducted by the CPI(M) in Khammam was peaceful, chief minister Rajasekhara Reddy provoked the police by calling them incompetent, Raghavulu said that the state government should take the responsibility for the police firing at Mudigonda. He requested for payment of compensation to the families of the people who died in the police firing and treatment to the injured.
The chief minister, Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, announced suspension of the additional superintendent of police, Khammam, Ramesh Babu, and transfer of the SP, R K Meena, in connection with the police firing at Mudigonda and ordered a judicial enquiry into the firing incident. On July 29, the CM announced payment of exgratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased and employment to one member of each family as also houses. He also announced payment of exgratia of Rs.50,000 each to the injured undergoing treatment in the hospitals and Rs.10,000 each to the people who suffered minor injuries. Rajasekhara Reddy said that stringent action would be taken on those who would be found guilty in the judicial enquiry for the firing at Mudigonda. The government also suspended the CI and SI of police connected with the firing.