Man walks into revenue official’s office in Telangana, sets her on fire over land dispute
A 35-year-old tehsildar, or block revenue official, was allegedly burnt to death in her office in Telangana’s Ranga Reddy district on Monday afternoon over a land dispute, police and revenue officials said.
The suspect, identified as Kura Suresh Mudiraj, and two persons who tried to save the woman office, were injured in the attack on Ch Vijaya Reddy in Hayatnagar block’s Abdullahpurmet. Reddy died on the spot.
The suspect, a farmer who lives in the nearby Gourelli village, came to Reddy’s office around 1:30pm and entered her chamber when she was having lunch, the police said.
“He went into the chamber with a bag in his hand and locked it from inside. Suddenly, there were screams and a loud sound from inside. Soon, the accused, with his clothes on flames, came out running... Vijaya came out screaming, completely engulfed in flames and collapsed on the corridor,” a police official said quoting witnesses.
The incident happened between 1:45pm and 2pm.
Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh Bhagawat said the suspect suffered 60% burns and was undergoing treatment at a private hospital.
A woman employee at Reddy’s office who did not want to be named said, “When I came down, I noticed a stout man with his clothes burning running out of the office. Madam was burning in flames in front of her chambers. I got panicky and went up the stairs again to alert other staff.”
Bhagawat and other top officials rushed to the spot to probe the matter. “Preliminary investigations revealed that Suresh had a quarrel with the tehsildar over a land dispute in his village which is presently in court. That could be the motive for the murder,” Bhagawat said.
“We are also investigating whether there are any other persons who had provoked Suresh to commit the murder,” he said.
The incident led to chaos in the tehsildar office, thronged by the public and shocked revenue employees, who later staged a protest seeking justice while the body of the tehsildar was taken to hospital for post-mortem.
Employees of the revenue department blocked the Hyderabad-Vijayawada national highway after the incident.
Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed sorrow over Reddy’s death. He spoke to police officials concerned after being informed of the incident, instructed them to book the culprit and take stringent action against him, an official release quoted Rao as having said.
State education minister Sabita Indra Reddy, who visited the spot, also condemned the murder. “If there are any land disputes to be resolved by the officials, people should take them up with higher-ups but not resort to inhuman crimes,” she said.
Telangana director general of police M Mahendar Reddy vowed to bring the culprit to book. “Such a barbaric act in a civilised society is totally unacceptable. We shall bring the culprit to book.”
A case under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to attempt) has been registered and the case will be tried in a fast track court, said police commissioner.