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As Girijans try to pay tributes to martyrs, police foil their attempts

As Girijans try to pay tributes to  martyrs, police foil their attempts
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Several innocent Girijans were killed and several others sustained injuries in police firing at the village M Manik Rao Utnoor (Adilabad): The...

Several innocent Girijans were killed and several others sustained injuries in police firing at the village

giri2M Manik Rao

Utnoor (Adilabad): The infamous police firing incident at Indravelli in Adilabad district completes 32 years on Saturday (April 20). Scores of Girijans died and several others sustained serious injuries in police firing then.

The poor Girijans---Gonds and other tribes---and people in several villages of remote forest areas in the Agency area of Adilabad district were being suppressed by the influential people in the locality. Landlords, contractors and rich people used to exploit the poor and innocent Girijans. The influential people wanted to grab the lands of the tribes.

Many people belonging to weaker sections, especially Girijans, planned to conduct a meeting to highlight their problems and to bring the issues to the notice of the Government officials. They were supported by the People's War Group (PWG) Naxalites, Thudum Party and some Left parties. The meeting was planned at Indravelli on April 20, 1981 (Monday).

As the meeting was supported by the PWG Naxalites, the then Congress Government, police officials and the local leaders vehemently opposed the move to organise the meeting.A However, the local Revenue and Police officials objected to conduct the meeting by stating that there was no permission from the Superintendent of Police.

Thudum party leader Thodasam Katti Patel went to SP office to seek permission. However, he was arrested at the SP office. Other leaders Hanumantha Rao, Rajeswara Rao Patel, Sidam Chitru Patel, Havaldar Vetti, Isthubai, Kinaka Mankubai and others were worried about Katti Patel.

In spite of setbacks, the leaders had decided to conduct the meeting. Despite the restrictions, hundreds of Girijan people in large numbers from nearby mandals and villages started arriving at the village to attend the meeting on the specified date. Meanwhile, police in large numbers surrounded the meeting venue. They started beating the innocent villagers mercilessly with lathis.

Many of Girijans were reluctant to leave the meeting venue. With the permission of the SP, the police opened fire on the crowds at the meeting in which several innocent villagers were killed. Several other Girijans sustained serious injuries.

The police were able to stall the meeting by using brute force. A martyrs' memorial was constructed at the village in later years with the support of PWG Naxals. People wanted to pay tributes to the martyrs at the memorial annually. For the past 32 years, the relative of the Girijans who died in the infamous incident and other villagers wanted to pay tributes to the martyres. And every year, police are deployed in large numbers to prevent the meeting at the village. They also impose Section 144 in the mandal during the days.

As usual, this year also, many villagers, especially Girijans, wanted to assemble at the village to pay their tributes to the martyrs. Again, police have imposed Section 144 at the village.

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