People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 05, 2007
MUDIGONDA POLICE FIRING
Protest Demos All Over The State, Oppn Parties Demand CM’s Resignation
Sitaram Yechury Visits Mudigonda
Massive demonstration in Hyderabad condemning police firing in Mudigonda.
M Venugopala Rao
THOUSANDS of people all over the state participated in the protest demonstrations on July 29, 2007 condemning the police firing at Mudigonda in which six people were killed and 16 others were severely injured. They demanded the resignation of the chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. On the call given by the CPI(M) and CPI, rasta rokos, demonstrations, processions, burning of effigies of the chief minister and taking effigies of his dead body in procession, dharnas, wearing of black badges, half-naked demonstrations, public meetings, round-table meetings, silent processions and other forms of protests were held. Apart from the CPI(M) and CPI, several Left parties and other opposition parties participated in these protests. The opposition parties demanded the resignation of the chief minister, holding him responsible for the police brutality at Mudigonda. Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) and MP, and N Chandrababu Naidu, president of the Telugu Desam Party and leader of the opposition visited Mudigonda and paid homage to the martyrs. They laid wreaths on the dead bodies and consoled the injured people undergoing treatment in hospitals.
Addressing a condolence meeting organised at Mudigonda bus stand centre where the police firing took place, Sitaram Yechury gave a call for giving a strong political reply in future to the Mudigonda firing. From an examination of the place of police firing and the account on the incident given by the local people, it was evident that the police resorted to firing not to disperse the agitators but to kill them, he said. Sitaram questioned as to whether the police would have resorted to firing had there been no directions from the chief minister. Asserting that there was a strong demand among the people that the chief minister should resign taking responsibility for the firing, he agreed with the demand of the state committee of the CPI(M) seeking resignation of the chief minister. Opposition to Rajasekhara Reddy government is growing among the people of the state. Sitaram said that the high command of the Congress party should take a decision, keeping this in view. Strongly condemning the police firing, Sitaram Yechury made it clear that such repressive and criminal measures resorted to by the government with a view to suppress the movement on land issue could not stop the people’s movements and that they would get further intensified in future. He said that the ruling classes should remember that though several people including the Nazi dictator Hitler had adopted such measures and false propaganda, nobody in the world could suppress the Red Flag. Having waited for three years and getting disgusted with the failure of the government in fulfilling its promises on land issue, the poor people had taken to the path of struggle, Sitaram Yechury explained and warned that the people would not pardon the rulers if they failed to understand it.
Sitaram Yechury made it clear that there was no comparison between what happened at Mudigonda and Nandigram as the incidents in the West Bengal village took place during an armed struggle between the Naxalites and the police and out of the 14 people killed, six were killed by the bullets of the Maoists, he explained. The death toll in Nandigram was high because of the violence of the destructive forces there, Sitaram said. At Mudigonda, the police resorted to firing on the people agitating peacefully, he said. The elections to the Haldia municipal corporation had established the support of the people to the Left Front government in West Bengal, he asserted. Announcing that in the coming days a strong movement on land issue would continue, Sitaram said that achieving the aims of the martyrs is the way of paying a real homage to them.
Addressing the people at Mudigonda and later at Khammam collectorate, N Chandrababu Naidu demanded immediate resignation of the chief minister and appointment of an independent commission to solve the land issue. He announced that people’s movement would be continued till Rajasekhara Reddy stepped down. Chandrababu Naidu announced financial assistance to the families of the deceased and those who were injured in the police firing at Mudigonda. Thammineni Veerabhadram, Central Committee member of the CPI(M) and MLA, announced that pressure would be brought on the UPA to remove Rajasekhara Reddy from the position of chief minister.
Demanding justice to the victims of the police firing at Mudigonda, people led by the CPI(M) agitated for almost 24 hours till their demands were met. After the district collector announced the decisions of the chief minister to give ex gratia and other assistance like giving two acres of land to each of the victim’s families and free education in residential schools to their children besides payment of one Lakh Rupees each to those who might be physically handicapped due to injuries sustained in the firing, the people allowed the authorities to take the dead bodies for post mortem. Several political leaders from Hyderabad and thousands of people from neighbouring districts visited Khammam and paid homage to the victims of police firing. The condition of three people, who were injured in the police firing, is still critical.
Sitaram Yechury with one of the victims in Khammam hospital.
Protesting the Mudigonda police firing, the CPI(M) and CPI organised a massive rally from Sundarayya Vignana Kendram to Indira park in Hyderabad on July 29 which culminated into a public meeting. Leaders of the TDP, Majlis Bachao Tehrik, CPI(ML) New Democracy, CPI(ML) and MCPI also participated in the procession and public meeting. CPI state secretariat member K Ramakrishna presided over the meeting. Addressing the meeting, B V Raghavulu, Polit Bureau member and state secretary of the CPI(M), said that the state government, which could not solve the problems of the people, had no right to continue. Reminding that those who had tried to suppress the movements of the people had faded away into the limbo of history, Raghavulu warned that the same fate would befall on Rajasekhara Reddy. Like some of the murderers in Cuddapah, the government had committed the crime of killing six people in Mudigonda, he said. Raghavulu criticised the government for not bothering about the indefinite hunger strikes and trying to water down the movement on land issue in the name of holding talks. He said better sense should prevail on the government at least now and asked it to atone for its sins by giving pattas to the poor who had set up huts on government lands. Raghavulu appealed to the people to give donations to provide financial assistance to the families of the Mudigonda martyrs. K Narayana, state secretary of the CPI, said that it was horrible that the chief minister, who should express apology for the firing incident, was trying to portray the deceased as Naxalites.
Narayana and TDP Polit Bureau member, T Devender Goud announced that the movement on land issue would continue, braving the repressive measures of the government to suppress it. G Vijayarama Rao, leader of the legislature party of Telangana Rashtra Samithi, criticised the police brutality and extended his party’s solidarity to the struggle.
Earlier, at a round-table meeting organised at Sundarayya Vignana Kednram, leaders of the CPI(M), CPI, TDP, TRS, CPI(ML) New Democracy, CPI(ML), CPI(ML) Liberation and MCPI(U) demanded the chief minister to resign, holding him responsible for the Mudigonda police firing. The meeting demanded payment of ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the deceased and enquiry into the police firing by a sitting judge.
Leaders of the CPI(M), CPI, TDP, TRS, CPI(ML) New Democracy, CPI(ML), MCPI(U), CPI(ML) Liberation, ML Committee and MBT submitted a memorandum to the state governor, Rameswar Thakur, on the July 30, 2007. In the memorandum, they explained that as many as 100 rounds were fired upon the small crowd of people who were agitating peacefully at Mudigonda showed that the policing firing was totally premeditated. Holding the government squarely responsible for the unwarranted police firing, they pointed out that it was not able to exhibit wisdom and take proper decisions, even after witnessing unequivocal state-wide condemnation and protests, leaders of these opposition parties appealed to the governor to intervene to ensure that the following demands were accepted by the government :
1. The proposals placed before the government to resolve the question of house sites and land for the poor should be accepted. 2. All the repressive measures should be stopped forthwith. All the police cases foisted on the participants of the land movement should be withdrawn immediately. 3. A judicial enquiry by a sitting judge of the High Court should be ordered into the police firing at Mudigonda. 4. The police officials responsible for the firing should be booked under a criminal case of murder. 5. All the injured persons, who are hospitalised, should be provided with better medical care under the supervision of experts.
B V Raghavulu, Y Venkateswara Rao (CPI-M), K Narayana, T Lakshminarayana (CPI), and T Devender Goud, K Sivaprasada Rao (TDP) were among the leaders who met the governor and requested him to visit Mudigonda.