- The forest officer was leading preparations for a tree plantation drive
- She was attacked violently on Sunday morning
- Locals reportedly did not want land to be reclaimed by the government
A forest officer who was leading preparations for a tree plantation drive in Telangana was left bleeding and injured after she was attacked violently on Sunday morning by a ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti party leader, his followers and some local villagers. She has been hospitalised after the attack.
In a disturbing video, forest range officer C Anita, defenceless, is seen standing on a tractor as a violent mob armed with huge wooden sticks surround her and land blows on her and the tractor that she is standing on.
The mob continued its attack even as other police officers try to shield her and push them away
Among those attacking Anita is Koneru Krishna, vice chairperson of the local zilla parishad and also brother of local Sirpur segment legislator Koneru Konappa.
Women officers said even the lawmaker threatened them in presence of Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police.
The accused, Krishna, has resigned as vice chairperson of the zilla parishad and two police officers have been suspended.
KT Rama Rao, working president of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and son of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao condemned the incident on Twitter.
"I strongly condemn the atrocious behaviour of Koneru Krishna who attacked a forest officer who was doing her job. He has been arrested & a case booked already; no one is above law of the land," he said.
#WATCH Telangana: A police team & forest guards were attacked allegedly by Telangana Rashtra Samithi workers in Sirpur Kagaznagar block of Komaram Bheem Asifabad district, during a tree plantation drive. (29-06) pic.twitter.com/FPlME1ygCp— ANI (@ANI) June 30, 2019
Ms Anita and her team were attacked in Sirpur-Kaghaznagar in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district when they went for a tree plantation drive in a 20-hectare degraded forest land in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district's Sirpur-Kaghaznagar.
The local villagers reportedly did not want the land on which they were cultivating illegally to be reclaimed by the government.
Sources say tension had been building up over this issue for the last few days and anticipating trouble, the forest range officer had gone along with 30 policemen and 30 forest guards.
Even as Ms Anita was explaining that they were following the instructions of the government, the mob, which included farmers, did not stop the attack.
Sixteen people, including the brother of the TRS legislator, have been arrested and more are likely to be taken into custody, district police chief Malla Reddy told NDTV.Case of attempt to murder and obstructing forest officer from performing duty has been registered, he said.
When asked why none of the armed police personnel tried to stop the attack, Mr Reddy said, "The attack on the officer happened too fast. Why no one fired, we need to inquire. But firing may have been a disproportionate reaction," he said.