(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 30, 2008
Ten Thousand People Arrested
ON the call given by the CPI(M) and CPI, about 75,000 people participated in processions, dharnas and picketings at 80 centres in Andhra Pradesh on November 20-21, 2008, demanding the Congress government to fulfil its promises to the people and solve their problems. They include demands for allotment of house sites, houses and arable land, protection of rights of the tribals on forest lands, giving white ration cards and pensions to the poor, sanctioning revolving funds for DWCRA groups and pattas to share croppers. The police had resorted to lathicharge in Eluru, Ranga Reddy, Srikakulam, Nalgonda, Mahaboobnagar, Guntur and Nellore districts and arrested about ten thousand people in connection with picketings and dharnas conducted in eighteen districts. Nearly fifty people were injured in the lathicharge and ten people were admitted in hospitals for treatment. The police brutally attacked the protesters by kicking them with boots and dragging the leaders and workers of the CPI(M) and CPI, including women, as a result of which some of them became unconscious. Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) and state secretary B V Raghavulu, members of the Central Committee Mallu Swarajyam, M A Gafoor and T Veerabhadram, state secretariat members Y Venkateswara Rao, Ch Sitaramulu, V Krishnaiah, Sarampally Mallareddy, Ch Narasinga Rao and G Nagayya and legislature party leader Nomula Narsimhayya, and CPI leaders K Ramakriahsna, V Ramnarsimha Rao, Puvvada Nageswara Rao, Aziz Pasha, P Venakta Reddy, K Subba Raju and others were among the arrested.
Dharnas and picketings were conducted at district collectorates, revenue divisional offices and integrated tribal development agency offices at Paderu in Visakhapatnam district, Rampachodavaram in East Godavari district, Buttayigudem in West Godavari district, Bhadrachalam in Khammam district and Yeturunagaram in Warangal district and at some of the mandal headquarters. In eight districts, the picketers cooked their food at the dharna centres and stayed there day and night for two days braving the cold winter.
Addressing the people at Hyderabad collectorate, B V Raghavulu criticised the Congress government for its intransigence in not solving the problems of the people and trying to suppress their struggles conducted earlier. He warned the government that huts would be set up at the same places where the people agitated under the banner of the CPI(M) on earlier occasions in the state and that the struggle would be intensified further. Raghavulu demanded the government to solve the demands of the people like allotment of house sites and distribution of arable land to the poor at least now, keeping the next general elections in view. Otherwise, the struggle would be transformed into a political struggle and the people would dislodge the government and construct its tomb, he warned. Addressing the picketers at Visakhapatnam collectorate, state secretary of the CPI K Narayana warned the government that administration would be paralysed if the problems of the people were not solved.
Holding red flags, raising slogans demanding the government to solve their problems and led by the leaders of both the Communist parties, everywhere thousands of people participated in dharnas and picketings. At Palakonda in Srikakulam district, the minister for Forests, S Vijayaramaraju was gheraoed. Similarly, at Narsipatnam RDO office the agitators gheraoed the minister for Commercial Taxes, K Ramakrishna. At collectorates and offices of RDOs, the agitators obstructed employees from entering their offices and jostling with the police took place at several centres. The police kicked on chest of V Umamaheswara Rao, secretary of Krishna district committee of the CPI(M), and dragged on road and kicked with boots the state committee member, Ch Babu Rao and Vijayawada city committee secretary R Raghu, as a result the latter two became unconscious. The police dragged state committee member of the Party K Swarupa Rani on the road, tearing her saree.
Member of the Central Committee of the CPI(M) and MP, P Madhu and CPI legislature party leader Chada Venkata Reddy participated in the picketing at Ranga Reddy district collectorate. At Kurnool collectorate, 36-hour dharna was conducted. In the dharna at Warangal collectorate state secretariat member of the CPI(M) S Veeraiah and CPI state secretariat member S Venkateswarlu, in the pickekting at Nalgonda collectorate MLAs J Rangareddy of the CPI(M) and P Venkata Reddy and R Ravindra Kumar of the CPI and in the picketing at Rampachodavaram ITDA CPI(M) MP Midiam Babu Rao participated. Protesting arrests of leaders and others in Khammam, rasta rokos were conducted all over the district. Dharnas and picketings were held at collectorates of Medak, Karimnagar, Anantapur, Adilabad, Machilipatnam, Vijayanagaram, and Chittoor also.
The state committee of the CPI(M) strongly condemned the arrests and lathicharge resorted to by the police on the people agitating under the banners of the CPI(M) and CPI seeking resolution of their problems. The CPI(M) thanked the people who participated in the dharnas and picketings for two days and made it a success.