HYDERABAD: A bid to clear a piece of 'Podu' land resulted in three officials of the Telangana forest department getting thrashed by tribals at the Chintaguppa village in Dummagudem mandal of Kothagudem district on Monday.
The issue cropped up over a section of forest land measuring around 27 hectares, where the tribals had taken up 'Podu' cultivation.
One of the three forest department officials who was beaten up said that they recently took up clearing of the land for afforestation works there, as part of the Telangana ku Haritha Haram programme of the state government.
Tribal attacked on 3 forest officials and tied them to tree with rope for cleaning podu land at remote village Chintaguppa village in Dummagudem mandal of Bhadradrikothagudem district on Monday.@shibasahu2012 pic.twitter.com/evi3tYKStE— R V K Rao (@RVKRao2) April 12, 2021
He said, "Initially, the tribals obstructed us from clearing the land. After we had a dialogue with them, they did not obstruct us any more the following days. On Monday, the District Forest Officer was supposed to come for inspection of the land. We sent a forest staffer to the location in a department vehicle and some chairs to be placed there. The tribals gheraoed him and beat him up, following which he called us."
The forest official further said, "Three of us reached the spot and tried to have a dialogue but the tribals were not ready to listen and started hitting us. They tied me up to a tree which had many red ants. The ants started crawling all over my body and biting me. I requested them to release me but they didn't and hit me and my other two colleagues."
After that, one of the officials called up a senior forest officer, following which they intervened and rescued the three staffers from further physical assault.
Forest department officials from the Bhadradri Kothagudem district have accused the Pinapaka MLA of the ruling TRS and Government Whip Rega Kantha Rao of conducting a meeting and instigating the tribals to act against them for retrieving forest land under 'Podu' cultivation.
Earlier too, the MLA had publicly appealed to all tribals to drive away forest department officials if they obstructed 'Podu' cultivation.