HYDERABAD: “Give back our guns!” This demand of the forest department officers in Telangana that has been on a backburner for years, found a fresh stridency on Monday following the brutal murder of one of their colleagues, Ch Srinivasa Rao, by a group of Guttikoya tribals in the Bhadradri Kothagudem district.
“We want the government to give us back our weapons. We need them for self-defence. And from now on, there is no question of any leniency towards anyone trying to stop us from doing our work, even if politicians interfere,” general secretary of the State Forest Service Officer’s Association, M. Raja Ramana Reddy said.
“Ever since the Podu lands issue was brought to the fore, there have been increasing attacks on our colleagues and enough is enough,” he told Deccan Chronicle.
The SFSOA in a statement extending condolences to Srinivasa Rao’s family, condemned the killing, saying that such incidents will not deter them from protecting forests in Telangana.
Joining the SFSOA in condemning the murder was the Telangana chapter of the IFS Officers Association which said it will soon approach the government with a list of things the government must do to ensure forest department staff can discharge their duties without facing dangers.
“Our association will be meeting soon in the next couple of days and take stock of the situation and what is needed to keep our staff safe. We will definitely be approaching the government to tell it that it must do what is required to ensure this. We, as IFS officers, are fully with all our department staff,” the IFS Officers Association state president MC. .Pargaien, an officer of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests said.
The Telangana Forest Ranger Officers’ Association joint secretary C.H.Venkataiah Goud said that the killing was a ‘pre-planned’ murder and demanded a thorough investigation into the entire incident. He also said the government must announce a `1 crore compensation instead of the `50 lakh it announced....