Officials accused of harassing Dalits

Vijayawada, May 10: Government officials were accused of harassing the 52 Dalit ryot families in Penamaloor village near here for the past seven years. No one went to their rescue.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday on behalf of farmers, Bahujan Samaj Party State vice-president B P Kamal Kumar said they were given 10.40 acre, each 20 cent land by District Collector K Venu Gopal in 1974 under Gogulamma tank in Penamaloor village.

The 52 Dalit families have been raising paddy and other crops ever since. He said the adjacent land was purchased by Arvapalli Ramesh, a landlord, who started harassing them. They alleged that the MRO and MDO supported the landlord and were extorting money from the Dalits.

He said the fast-track programmes Neeru-Meeru and Janma Bhoomi were being used to evict the poor Dalits from there.

The BSP leader alleged that the landlord tried to built a road in between their fields as part of the Janma Bhoomi. Later, he planned to dig a tank under Neeru-Meeru programme to evict the Dalits from there.

He alleged that the officials were extending full cooperation to the landlord. He said it was a rare case when the Janma Bhoomi became a curse to the poor farmers.

The landlord collected Rs 12,000 forcibly by saying that he spent the amount as part of the Janma Bhoomi. He said the landlord was also enjoying the income from some toddy trees there. But, Kamal Kumar said the 52 Dalits were directed not to enter the Toddy grove.

Penamaloor MRO Sri Latha favoured him by directing the Dalits to pay the amount, he said. It is a tragedy that the government had so far not issued them land deeds though they have been cultivating the lands for the last 26 years.

He said half of their land would go if the road between the field as was laid under Janma Bhoomi. Similarly, they are bound to lose their land if the government took up digging of the tank under Neeru-Meeru.

He condemned the atrocities by the landlord and demanded that the government take action against him and the erring officials.

Speaking to reporters, the Dalits said that they would commit mass suicides if the government does not issue pattas to them.

Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 12, 2001
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