Mudikonda Firing

Justice B. Subhashan Reddy, Chairperson, Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Commission (APHRC) has called for a report on the circumstances that led to the police firing in Mudikonda of Khammam district on 28 July, taking note of the death of eight persons and injuries to eight more. Modigonda is 15 km from Khammam town. The two-month long struggle for the land distribution.

The state Congress government has been using excessive force in the face of public protests. Fifty rounds of firing by the police using self-loading rifles (SLR) and other powerful weapons in Khammam district is similar to what happened in Hyderabad on May 18 after the blast in Makkah Masjid.

N Chandrababu Naidu, chief, Telgu Desam Party on 29 July demanded the resignation of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy owning moral responsibility for the police firing in Khammam district.

Khammam district Collector is supposed to send a report by August 1, 2007. Khammam is represented by Renuka Chowdhury in the Parliament. Instead of visiting the victims and their families, Chowdhury is awaiting reports of the incident.

Telugu TV channels aired pictures of unprovoked firing by policemen several rounds from automatic weapons on the protestors seeking land rights. Most of the victims were shot on abdomen, chest and head. The bodies were lying in pools of blood while the injured were writhing in pain. Wailing men and women had gathered around them.

The television footage showed how police fired at the people running away or carrying the injured persons were fired on the chest and the head.

The television cameras caught the police opening fire at the relay hunger strike camp of the CPM where three to four hundred people were sitting.

When the communist parties staged demonstrations across the state. The issue had dominated the 10-day assembly session.

In Hyderabad, CPI state secretary K. Narayana, CPI-M secretary B.V. Raghavulu and eight other leaders, who were on an indefinite hunger strike for seven days, were shifted to a hospital by police since their condition was deteriorating.

The government has transferred the Khammam district superintendent of police R K Meena and suspended additional SP Ramesh Babu. The judicial probe has been ordered into the incident.

K Chandrasekhar Rao, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi president spoke to the bereaved families and expressed solidarity with the Left parties in their land struggle.

The talks between the government and representatives of Left parties failed to break the impasse over land distribution issue.

The protestors have been insisting on setting up an autonomous commission to monitor implementation of land distribution to the poor.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Protests against the dam by Adivasi communities in Khammam, West Godavari and East Godavari.must be kept in mind.,

Strong grassroots mobilisation by youth groups in Khammam district has forced the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to reconsider its ambivalent position on the dam. Local leaders of the party are now completely opposed to the dam while state and national level leaders continue to play around with demands like height reduction and complete rehabilitation

• People’s committees in Khammam, East and West Godavari districts are raising larger questions about the purpose of the dam and its relationship to the growth corridors along the coast where massive domestic and foreign investments in industrial and tourism infrastructure are being made at the expense of fishing communities.

The Polavaram dam cannot be understood outside its geohistoric specificity. While Narmada Bachao Andolan raised many important issues, resistance to Polavaram is moving ahead very creatively and attempting to articulate a new sets of questions.

Anantha Krishna and Sagari R Ramdas
sagari.ramdas@gmail.com
Anonymous said…
(text of the statement dafted by Jayati Ghosh et al)


A STATEMENT

We the undersigned are shocked and appalled by the police firing at Mudigonda village in Andhra Pradesh during the state-wide bandh on July 28, which led to loss of lives and serious injuries to a large number of people. The fact that the firing occurred despite the Chief Minister’s instructions to the police, according to his own statement, not to use force during the bandh, only underscores the extent of police high-handedness. But such high-handedness cannot be explained without reference to the repressive manner in which the state government has sought to deal with the movement for land by the poor. Over three thousand cases have been filed against the leaders of the movement, and thousands have been sent to jail.

Instead of dealing with the mass upsurge of the poor with sympathy and in a manner consistent with its own electoral promises, the state government has embarked on a futile and dangerous attempt to crush the movement. We appeal to the state government to desist from this course, we express our total solidarity with the mass upsurge of the poor for land, and we demand that the state government take immediate steps to distribute the 60 lakh acres of land which are in its possession according to the Rangarao Committee Report.

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