36 yrs on since infamous carnage, Indravelli still on the boil
Even as the spine-chilling incident of Indravelli carnage turned 36 on Thursday, many problems of tribals like drinking water, exploitation by middlemen, encroachment of their lands by non-tribals, lack of remunerative prices for their farm produce and viral fevers still continue to haunt the aboriginals of the Agency area.
Adilabad: Even as the spine-chilling incident of Indravelli carnage turned 36 on Thursday, many problems of tribals like drinking water, exploitation by middlemen, encroachment of their lands by non-tribals, lack of remunerative prices for their farm produce and viral fevers still continue to haunt the aboriginals of the Agency area.
Tribals have been demanding the State government for measures to achieve the comprehensive development of Agency areas. Mankubai of Dahiguda successfully fought several legal battles against non-tribal landlords for about five years to get the land encroached by them released, tribals said pointing out that there were many instances of grabbing of lands in Agency areas.
There are many tribals doing rounds to government offices to get their land released from encroachers. Tribal farmers are allegedly being exploited by traders. Women have been trekking kilometers together to fetch drinking water. The infamous Indravelli incident occurred on April 20, 1981 when the police opened fire on huge congregation of tribals. The police put the death toll at 13. However, unofficial accounts put the toll at 60.
To protest against the exploitation of tribals by traders and middlemen, a public meeting was held at Indravelli on April 20, 1981 under the aegis of the Rytu-Coolie Sangham. People from all tribal hamlets marched to the venue, but the police on the day of the meeting cancelled permission to the meeting on the grounds of possible Maoist infiltration into t he meeting. The police clamped prohibitory orders.
Unaware of the prohibitory orders, a sea of tribals converged at Indravelli. The provocation came when a tribal woman resisted the police official’s indecent gestures. The police opened fire on tribals killing many and causing injuries to hundreds. Terrified tribals ran helter-skelter.
The whole incident reminds one of the infamous Jallianwallahbagh in Amritsar. Quoting an inquiry by people’s organisations, tribal leader Madavi Eswari put the toll at 60. Even now, we can come across people rendered disabled in the firing incident in the hamlets of Pittabongaram and Tatiguda.
A tribal leader Madavi Bhujangarao, recalling the infamous incident, said the police opened firing without sounding any caution. A memorial was built at Indravelli as a mark of tribute to those who were killed in the incident. In 1986, the structure was pulled down by miscreants. However, it was rebuilt later with the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) funds.
The tribals were angry at the police for imposing restrictions on paying tributes to the martyrs. They allege that the State government did not pay attention to the Indravelli incident which inspired the movement for separate Telangana. The tribals’ associations have been demanding financial assistance to those who were injured in the Indravelli incident. They demand development of a Smritivan at Indravelli as a tribute to the martyrs.
By Thotla Chinna Anjaiah