TS police face political heat for handcuffing protesting farmers

Hyderabad: Political parties across the spectrum on Tuesday condemned the police action to handcuff protesting farmers who were on their way to submit a memorandum to energy minister G. Jagadish Reddy and MLA P. Shekar Reddy at the collectorate. The protesters are unwilling to part with their lands for the Regional Ring Road project.

Bhuvanagiri MP Komatireddy Venkat Reddy said, “Use of handcuffs against farmers of Rayagiri protesting the loss of their lands to the RRR is deplorable. Lands belonging to Dalit, backward communities are being acquired. Why should farmers who have just one or two acres be deprived of their land when government lands are available? The farmers of Bhuvanagiri and Rayagiri are fighting to save their ancestral lands. They protested peacefully but were arrested and sent to jail.”

“It pained me seeing farmers in handcuffs when they were brought to the Bhuvanagiri sessions court. This is unjustified and not acceptable.

What does the CM, who claims to do so much for farmers, have to say about this? Strict action should be taken against officers responsible and case withdrawn sans any conditionalities. As an MP from Bhuvanagiri, I condemn this action and it reeks of authoritarian attitude,” he said.

CPI state secretary Kunamneni Sambasiva Rao alleged that the protests were because their lands were being acquired for throwaway prices, while market rates are much higher. “Protests are happening against projects of NHAI also. Landowning farmers should be paid market rates and not registration department rates. Filing cases against farmers is wrong and handcuffing them is a criminal offence. Officials responsible should be suspended.”

The president of Telangana Jana Samithi said, “The existing regional ring road is enough and can be widened if needed. There is no need for a second regional ring road. It is being laid for real estate purposes. Farmers have been protesting peacefully and had repeatedly given representations to the authorities.”

BJP state president Bandi Sanjay said, “How can farmers be handcuffed like dacoits and thieves? Is protesting peacefully a crime? The days of KCR government are numbered.”

Reacting to the backlash against their move, the police issued a statement that they were following protocols in keeping with the violent nature of the protestors.

Bhuvanagiri DCP M. Rajesh Chandra said, “Some objections have been raised against bringing the accused in handcuffs in the media. Normally, we use minimal force when arresting them. The four accused in this case had shoved the police in earlier instances and damaged a police vehicle.

They made a bonfire of hay outside the collector’s office. They were considered to be of violent character and security was tightened.

Depending on the nature of the accused, the security ws decided. None of the four persons is a farmer. One person has 20 guntas of land, bought along with six others, for laying plots. He also has a shop and is not a farmer. The other three are also not farmers and don’t have any land in the area.”

However, politicians were not convinced by the police's reply.

Komatireddy Venkat Reddy said, “They were protesting for the rights of farmers. The police cannot arrest and handcuff them and treat them like terrorists.”

The farmers were arrested two weeks back and were being produced in the Bhuvanagiri court after completion of their remand period.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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