Telangana: Probe ordered after tribal women file molestation, assault complaint

Police in Telangana’s Bhadradri Kothagudem district are investigating a complaint lodged by four tribal women alleging assault on them and molestation attempt on a minor girl by a forest guard on Friday.
Telangana tribal welfare minister Satyavathi Rathod ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the alleged molestation of a minor girl and assault on three other women by the forest guard. (Representational)
Telangana tribal welfare minister Satyavathi Rathod ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the alleged molestation of a minor girl and assault on three other women by the forest guard. (Representational)
Published on Jan 24, 2022 01:24 AM IST
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By, Hyderabad

Police in Telangana’s Bhadradri Kothagudem district are investigating a complaint lodged by four Adivasi women alleging assault on them and molestation attempt on a minor girl by a forest guard on Friday.

The tribal women belonging to Rajannagudem gram panchayat of Mulakalalapalli block filed a complaint on Saturday. At the same time, the forest official, too, lodged a counter complaint against the tribal women stating that they had violated forest rules and obstructed his duties, Mulakalapalli assistant sub-inspector Tirumala Rao told HT.

“We are conducting a preliminary investigation into both the complaints. We are yet to register a case. We shall do that after gathering details,” Rao said.

According to Potu Ranga Rao, state joint secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the three Adivasi women and a 15-year-old girl, who all originally belonged to Chhattisgarh and were taking shelter in the forest areas of the district, had gone deep into the forests to fetch firewood on Friday afternoon.

“A forest guard, who saw them cutting wood, shouted at them and when they revolted, he beat them up indiscriminately. In their bid to escape from him, the girl fell into a deep ditch and sustained injuries on the body. On the pretext of pulling her from the ditch, the forest guard tore her clothes and tried to molest her,” Rao alleged.

The tribal women managed to escape from the spot and reached their hamlet by evening. They met the gram panchayat sarpanch and explained everything to him. “On Saturday, the sarpanch took them to Mulakalapalli police station and made them lodge a complaint with police,” the CPI (ML) leader said.

As the news spread like wildfire, local left party activists and Progressive Organisation for Women (POW) workers took out a rally in Mulakalapalli town and demanded action against the forest official. “The forest guard should be immediately arrested and booked for molestation and also for violation of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act,” POW president G Jhansi said.

State tribal welfare minister Satyavathi Rathod ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the alleged molestation of a minor girl and assault on three other women by the forest guard.

“The tribal women went into the forest to fetch firewood for their domestic use. How can the forest guard obstruct them and beat them? The government will take stern action after due inquiry,” she said in a statement.

District forest officer Ranjit Naik said the forest department had initiated a probe to ascertain the facts and would take appropriate action against the accused.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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