“Even animals are not thrashed this way,” said C Anita, the Telangana forest department official,a day after she was attacked by some people,allegedly led by the brother of a ruling TRS member in KB-Asifabad district over a land issue.
The 34-year-old woman Forest Range Officer (FRO), who is being treated at a private super specialty hospital here, said that the mob, led by MLA Koneru Konappa’s brother Krishna, did not spare her and other forest personnel though they pleaded not to be hit.
Anitha, who spoke to reporters in the hospital, sought a reassurance from the government about her security and strong action to act as a deterrent for such incidents.
“…Krishna came (to the site) and pushed back police and started hitting (us). They targeted me first and after hitting me, villagers started thrashing our officials. I was injured and our people took me back.
Without even bothering that there are women, they hit us though we pleaded not to be hit. Even animals arenotthrashed like this,”she said.
Koneru Krishna Rao is the younger brother of TRS MLA from Sirpur, Koneru Konappa.
He was elected as Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) member of Kaghaznagar mandal.
He was chosen as ZPTC vice chairperson recently.
Anitha, along with her staff and police, had gone to Sarasala village for plantation on a land under a compensatory afforestation scheme for Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project, a senior forest department official had said.
Video footage of the attack showed Anitha climbing a tractor to escape and Krishna and other villagers attacking the vehicle.
She was seen pleading with them not to attack her.
An identified person hit the lady official.
“They will try to do something (harm) even after going form here(hospital)…strong action is needed to deter such things.
There are many such incidents, political leaders have lot of support and they (attackers) come out in the day (from prisons)…Who will takeresponsibilityif something happens to me? I definitely want security,”she said Monday.
“It should be seen that he (Krishna) does not interfere in this manner again. I have come to the Government to serve people. I took up this job with the love for uniform. I never expected to be hit like this when in uniform,”Anitha said.
Her husband Manik Rao told PTI that he was trying to meet Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and apprise him of the attack.
Condemning the incident, forest department personnel took out a rally at Sirpur-Kagaznagar Monday.
The Indian Forest Service Association, Telangana Chapter, in a statement, said the “atrocious and uncivilized attack on the unarmed forest staff” is highly deplorable and demanded that the government take immediate stringent action against all those responsible for the incident.
The Opposition Congress also attackedthe TRS government over the incident.
Former Congress MP V Hanumatha Rao, who visited Anitha in the hospital, demanded tough action against the perpetrators.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka appointed a “fact-finding committee” of four party MLAs on the incident.
TRS Working president K T Rama Rao Sunday condemned the attack and said no one is above the law.
“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 the law of the land, he had tweeted.
Superintendent of Police Malla Reddy said Krishna Raoand 13 others were arrested on Sunday and remanded Monday.
Police are verifying the footage of the incident to identify others who are part of the attack.
The police department in an official release, had said that DSP Kagaznagar Sambaih and Inspector Venkatesh were suspended for their “negligence in conducting duty” with regard to the incident.
District Forest Officer L Ranjith Naik said Anitha has been shifted to a private hospital in Hyderabad for better treatment.
“She is doing fine. There are some hairline fractures on her left arm,” he said.
Meanwhile, a video doing the rounds in the social media Monday showed Koneru Konappa purportedly telling villagers he would convene a press meet and they should tell journalists that police and forest department personnel had beaten them up 15 days back and also on Sunday when they were “merely trying to stop the tractors’ from ploughing their land.
Asked about the video, Malla Reddy said it has come to their notice and they were looking into it.