Planting trees is a noble act and should be rewarded. In Telangana, the reward was violence. In a disturbing video, forest range officer C Anita, defenceless, is seen stand on a tractor as a group of angry political workers surround her and land blows on her and the tractor with huge wooden sticks. Sixteen people, including the brother of a TRS legislator, have been arrested.
Among those attacking Anita is Koneru Krishna, vice chairperson of the local zilla parishad and also brother of local Sirpur segment legislator Koneru Konappa.
The mob continues its attack even as other police officers try to shield her and push them away.
The issue was the villagers thought that the government is trying to capture the land which they were cultivating illegally. Sources say tension had been building up over this issue for the last few days and anticipating trouble, the forest range officer had gone along with 30 policemen and 30 forest guards.
Even as Ms Anita was explaining that they were following the instructions of the government, the mob, which included farmers, did not stop the attack. The police didn’t take the required actions. When asked why none of the armed police personnel tried to stop the attack, Mr Reddy said, “The attack on the officer happened too fast. Why no one fired, we need to inquire. But firing may have been a disproportionate reaction,” he said.
The plantation drive, aimed at afforestation, is part of the Kaleshwaram irrigation project of the state government which Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao calls his “second-biggest dream”.