Many including policemen injured as reservation feud turns violent in Telanagana

Adivasis are demanding removal of Lambadas from the list of Scheduled Tribes dubbing them as outsiders.

india Updated: Dec 16, 2017 09:38 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telangana,Quota battle,Gond Adivasis
A large contingent of security personnel was deployed after clashes erupted between two groups of tribal in northern Telangana on Friday. (HT file photo for representational purpose only. )

Several people, including policemen, were injured when a group of Gond Adivasis clashed with Lambadas or Banjaras in northern Telanagana on Friday after days of simmering tension over the former’s demand to remove the latter from the list of Scheduled Tribes.

Though initial reports said five persons were killed in violence at Husnapur village in Komuram Bheem district, a late night release from Telangana director general of police M Mahender Reddy said there were no deaths. He asked the tribals not to believe the rumours being spread by the mischief mongers to stoke violence.

However, two persons – Jithender Rathod (30) and Sheik Farooq (50)--were killed and another person Gyaneshwar Jadav was injured when a vehicle ran over them as the driver, who was trying to escape from the violent attacks by the tribals, lost control over steering at the trouble-torn village.

The trouble began on Friday morning when the local Adivasis noticed a garland of chappals around the statue of Kumaram Bheem, the Gond leader who had fought against the Nizam rule and is revered as a hero by the tribals.

Soon the Adivasi youth went on rampage and started attacking the houses of Lambadas in the village. They set fire to several shops, damaged vehicles and assaulted the Lambada families.

The situation calmed down only after police forces from Utnoor block rushed there and assured the agitators that they would take stern action against those who desecrated the statue.

In the meantime, the Lambadas also took out a counter-rally in protest against the attacks by the Adivasis.

This resulted in clashes between the two groups, who pelted stones at each other and attacked with sticks and spears.

To control the situation police lobbed tear gas shells and resorted to cane-charge. Several people were also taken into custody. The normalcy restored in the area only by evening.

The DGP said a large contingent of forces had been deployed in the violent-hit village and surrounding areas to control the situation. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code were also clamped.

Two companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) had also been rushed to the affected areas. Three officers of the rank of inspector general of police (IGP) – D S Chowhan, Anil Kumar and Y Nagi Reddy-- left for the village to review the situation and take appropriate measures, the DGP said.

The discontent among the Adivasis against Lambadas has been brewing for quite some time in the tribal areas of northern Telangana, as they fear the Lambadas were cornering most of the jobs available under the ST quota.

Adivasis considered Lambadas as outsiders who settled in the area coming from other neighbouring states.

The state reserves 6% of its jobs for scheduled tribes. In April a bill was passed in the assembly to raise the quota to 10%.

According to the 2011 census, the STs constitute 9.91% of the Telangana’s 36.3 million population.

The Lambadas, who were circumspect initially, have started counter-agitations in the recent past. Three days ago, they held a massive public meeting in Hyderabad, asking the government not to succumb to the pressures from Adivasis, but come out with a solution that does not affect the interest of both the groups.

They warned of a serious agitation, if they are removed from the ST list.

First Published: Dec 16, 2017 09:38 IST