For almost a week now, a farmer, his wife and two little children have been going around a market in Andhra Pradesh's Mothkur village of Kurnool district, begging bowls in hand. They want money, not for food, but to bribe an officer and get their land back, says Manyam Venkateswarulu or Raju, a small farmer in the Rayalaseema region.
The farmer claims a local revenue official took away the ownership papers of his land and demanded a bribe to hand them over.
"Please donate so that I can pay the bribe. If you pay up, you can get any work done. I can't, so I lost my land. The last two years, I have been struggling," Raju, 35, told whoever would listen to him. He said his family is also on a hunger strike.
The family carries placards and a banner in Telugu that reads that they have no money for a bribe to get their land back.
The banner has the names of his two young children Suchi and Sujit, and says that the family fears for its safety as the protest is likely to upset the administration.
Raju said his 22 acre-land in Kurnool District was grabbed by his relatives, who had allegedly paid bribe to a revenue official posted there at the time.
When Raju went to the official, he allegedly told him that the documents were with the district collector and he would hand them over for money.
So the frustrated farmer began his unique protest, declaring that he, too, would bribe the official and get his land papers.
Kurnool district collector S Satyanarayana said Raju's claims and allegations are baseless and has asked the police to charge him with "defaming" the department. The officer also said Raju should approach the court if there is a land dispute in the family.
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