Female official brutally beaten by mob ‘as police looked on’ in India

Warning graphic content: Local member of ruling party arrested in connection with attack says it was ‘accidental’

Alessio Perrone
Tuesday 02 July 2019 16:18
Female official brutally beaten by mob as police look on in India

Two police officers have reportedly been suspended for failing to protect a female forest ranger who was attacked by an angry mob of men armed with sticks and rods.

Chole Anitha was hit in the head by the group who were protesting an afforestation drive in the village of Kaghaznagar, in India's southern state of Telangana.

Led by a member of the state’s ruling party, a group of about 30 were filmed as they surrounded the forestry department’s vehicles and personnel.

As they set upong the vehicles, Ms Anitha stood on one of them to try and placate them. But they set upon her instead.

Eventually police stepped in, but not until after she had been repeatedly hit. Two officers were suspended for failing to protect her during the attack, the BBC reported.

Officials said Ms Anitha was badly injured and was transferred to a hospital. She was later discharged.

Among the 14 arrested was Koneru Krishna Rao, a local official of the Tenangala Rashtra Samithi (TRS) regionalist party and the brother of TRS state representative Koneru Konappa.

Mr Rao told local media that the attack was “accidental”.

“The forest department is terrorising Adivasi farmers and confiscating their land forcefully,” he told the Asian News International news agency. “I tried to pacify department authorities but in vain.”

The forestry department had been authorised to proceed with the afforestation drive that will see saplings planted on some 20 hectares of land.

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Figures from across India's political spectrum condemned and criticised the incident.

Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, a high-ranking TRS politician, tweeted: “I strongly condemn the atrocious behaviour of Koneru Krishna who attacked a forest officer who was doing her job. He has been arrested & a case booked already; no one is above law of the land.”

Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is currently in power in India, and the opposition Congress party also condemned the attack.

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