‘They might kill me’, says Telangana woman forester assaulted by TRS leader
The woman forest official who was allegedly assaulted by the brother of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLA at Sarsala tribal village of Kumaram Bheem Asifabad district on Sunday fears threat to her life from the followers of the accused.
Chole Anitha, forest range officer at Kaghaznagar, was beaten up indiscriminately by TRS leader and Zilla Parishad vice-chairman Koneru Krishna Rao at Sarasala village of Kaghaznagar block when she along with her department officials went there for a tree plantation programme.
Rao, brother of TRS MLA from Sirpur Kaghaznagar Koneru Konappa, later resigned from the vice-chairman post and was subsequently arrested along with 13 others.
Anitha, who was shifted from Kaghaznagar to a corporate hospital in Hyderabad for better treatment, appeared to be still in a shock even after a day of the incident. “I am scared of those people. They might kill me after coming out of jail. I am very scared,” she told reporters at the hospital.
She recalled that it was not the first time that the local TRS leaders had assaulted the forest officials. “I was told even my predecessors had faced similar threats and attacks from the local leaders. They are known for instigating the tribals to attack forest officials,” she said.
Alleging that the local leaders had the backing of the MLA, Anitha demanded that Konappa should be sacked from the party as well as his assembly membership. “I hail from a poor family and have become a forest range officer by working hard. I never imagined that they would assault a woman officer in uniform,” she said.
Anitha said the MLA’s brother had started abusing the forest officials, including women, in foul language and started attacking them after pushing away police personnel. “I requested him to maintain restraint, but he was in no mood to listen. He targeted me and even as I escaped from him and climbed a tractor, he and his followers assaulted me with sticks,” she said.
But Anitha is keen to return to work after her discharge.
Meanwhile, employees of the forest department across Telangana staged demonstrations on Monday in protest against the brutal attack on the woman officer. They demanded protection to the forest staff and justice for Anitha.
Forest authorities on Monday went to Sarasala again and took up afforestation drive under heavy police security in the contentious land.
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