VISAKHAPATNAM: In a shocking incident, a Dalit woman was allegedly stripped over a land dispute at Jerripothulapalem village of Pendurthi mandal early Tuesday. The Visakhapatnam police swung into action in a few hours and took into custody seven persons, including two women, for assaulting the Dalit.
Though the incident took place on Tuesday, it came to light on Wednesday after the victim lodged a complaint with the local police. Among the arrested, few are believed to be members of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
The arrested have been identified as M Parvathi, her husband M Appalaraju, a former sarpanch, V Srinu, S Joga Rao, S Gangamma, M Ramulu Naidu and R Gangaraju. Addressing newsmen on Wednesday, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order II) T Ravi Kumar Murthy said that recently the government allocated some land in survey number 77 in Jerripothulapalem area to 22 beneficiaries under the NTR Housing Scheme. Each beneficiary got around 3.3 cents for a house.
However, a group of Dalit families claimed that they have been farming in the survey number 77 land, which was allotted to them more than two decades ago.
The victim’s sister and few Dalit families entered the spot to allegedly reclaim the land where a puja was being held. The women alleged that the government allocated the land to a group of people, who were henchmen of TDP leaders. When the new beneficiaries saw some Dalits entering the land, they engaged in a heated argument. This turned ugly and a scuffle broke out. The new beneficiaries assaulted the Dalit woman and allegedly stripped her.
The incident triggered outrage among YSRC members who protested against the brutal act. The protestors alleged that even the police refused to take a complaint as TDP leaders are involved in it. The YSRC camp said that TDP leaders have been trying to grab land with fabricated documents and these leaders allotted land to their henchmen.
However, the DCP ruled out the charge that cops did not take action. “He said that cops received a complaint on Tuesday late night and took the accused into custody by morning. When asked whether the woman was stripped, the DCP said “It would be ascertained during investigation.”
Cases have been registered under the SC/ST Atrocities Act and Sections 447 and 323 of the IPC. Meanwhile AP SC/ST Commission Chairman K Sivaji asked district collector Pravin Kumar to look into the issue and report immediately.