Massacre Of Lakshimpeta Dalits Is Brazen Inhumanity

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) calls on the police to conduct a proper and thorough investigation in the massacre of Dalits at Lakshmipeta so that all those members of the turpu kapu caste who perpetrated the heinous crime are convicted.

A five-member HRF team visited Lakshmipeta village in Vangara mandal of Srikakulam district on 16-6-2012 (Saturday) and gathered details of the June 12th attack from residents including family members of the 4 Dalits killed – Nivarthi Sangamesu (40), Chittiri Appadu (30), Nivarti Venkati (51) and Burada Sundara Rao (40). The toll has since risen to five with another Dalit Bodduru Papayya (50) succumbing five days later to injuries at the King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The team also spoke with revenue and police officials.

Despite police claims that they are doing their best, only 10 of the 66 named as attackers by the Dalits have been arrested so far. And this is a full five days after the brutal attack on the Lakshmipeta Dalitawada. Timely arrest of the accused will go some way in enthusing confidence in the Dalits. We also call upon the police to complete the investigation within the stipulated 30 days and to go about their task without bowing to any political or other pressure.

The attack of June 12 is brazen inhumanity. A mob of nearly a 100 men armed with crude smoke bombs, hatchets, axes, sickles and other deadly weapons raided the Dalitawada at about 7.10 am. They dragged Dalit men out of their homes, abused them and the women invoking their caste name and inflicted criticial injuries on four Dalits. Three of the Dalits died on the spot while Chittiri Appadu died enroute Rajam hospital. Over 25 Dalits were injured, about half of them seriously. The latter are still in hospital.

The administration and police failed to taken adequate preventive measures to obviate such an attack even though the Vangara police station, located just four km away from Lakshimpeta, is among the list of atrocity prone areas in the State. Given ongoing differences between the Dalits and turpu kapus of Lakshmipeta in respect of non-submerged land for the Madduvalasa reservoir and the imminent danger of attacks against the Dalits, officials concerned failed to resolve the land issue democratically or in providing necessary protection to the Dalits.

Importantly, powers provided for in the law to the administration have not been exercised. For instance, Section 10-A and Section 17 of the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 were not invoked. These provisions enable the administration to take preventive action against individuals and groups so as to prevent atrocities against Dalits.

HRF believes that the demand of the Dalits for provision of land to them in the non-submerged area of the reservoir foreshore is justified. This will go some way in strengthening the Dalits socially and economically and will help them in future to oppose oppression on their own.

VS Krishna
(HRF State general secretary)

KV Jagannadha Rao
(HRF State secretary)


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