Senior Supreme Court advocate and civil rights activist Bojja Tarakam, who fought for Dalit rights and civil liberties all through his life, died after a brief illness at a private hospital in Hyderabad late Friday night. He was 77.
He is survived by a daughter and a son, Rahul Bojja, who is presently the collector of Hyderabad. Tarakam was suffering from brain tumour for which he underwent a surgery in 2013.
Born on June 27, 1939, at Katrenikona in East Godavari district, Tarakam fought the case of fake encounters involving Naxalites in the Andhra Pradesh high court, which gave a landmark judgment in his favour.
On February 9, 2009, a five-member bench of the AP high court delivered a judgment asking the government to prosecute police officials who were involved fake encounters.
More recently, he argued the case of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar who committed suicide in his hostel room at the University of Hyderabad.
Another major case Tarakam argued, and which brought him into national focus, was the infamous massacre of Dalits in Tsundur village of Prasakam district in Andhra Pradesh in August 1992. Similarly, he had taken up the cause of Dalits who were attacked by upper caste people at Karamchedu village of Guntur district in 1984.
Tarakam was also a popular writer, penning several books on rights movement, which includes Police Arrest Cheste, Dalitula Rajyam and Kulam Vargam.
He also founded AP Dalita Maha Sabha, and was the president of the Republican Party of India (RPI). He was active in politics for quite some time, before confining himself to legal practice as a Supreme Court advocate.