Laxmipeta Dalit Struggle Solidarity Committee, Andhra Pradesh
Plot No:1, Bal Reddy Nagar, Tolichowki, Hyderabad-500008 Ph No: 040-23562525,
Memorandum to Government of India, New Delhi, by the victims of Laxmipeta Carnage
About forty families, belonging to scheduled castes of Laxmipeta village, Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh, are cultivating 60 acres of Government land for the last 12 years. The Toorpu Kapus, an upper caste, though listed as backward classes, of the same village are cultivating the remaining 190 acres of the 250 acres, which remained as surplus of the acquired land for Madduvalasa Project. Since, the land is of no use to the project, the villagers belonging to the two castes started cultivating the same, to the knowledge of the Government.
For the last two years, the Kapus are insisting the Scheduled castes leave the land under their occupation, to which the Scheduled castes are resisting. The Kapus, in between, threatened the scheduled castes, beat them on three occasions resulting in a death of a woman. No case was registered. On 12th June, 2012 at about 7 am, the Kapus armed with spears and other deadly weapons, raided the Scheduled caste locality, terrorized them by exploding bombs, attacked those available in the street, broke open the doors, speared five men to death, caused serious injuries to about 100 people all over the body, rendering 20 of them unfit for hard labour, and left fifty with grievous injuries. On the previous night, they hatched a plan to attack the scheduled castes and conspired with the officials to remove the police post to facilitate the attack.
The complaint was lodged immediately, but the main accused were arrested only upon an agitation by the victims, after compensation was paid under the S.C.S.T. (POA) Rules, 1995. Under the S.C.S.T. (POA) ACT, charge-sheet has to be filed within 30 days, but so far, even after expiry of almost 90 days, the charge-sheet is not filed. Taking advantage of this, the court started giving bails to the accused. Under the S.C.S.T (POA) Act, 1989, a special court has to be established to try the offences under the Act. There is no Special Court in the District of Srikakulam, as a matter of fact, there is no single special court established under the said Act, in the entire state of Andhra Pradesh. Under the code of criminal procedure, the court can be established at any place keeping in view of the safety of the witnesses.
There are no impediments, either administrative or legal, in assigning the 250 acres of Government to the scheduled castes of Laxmipeta village. Since the lands are surplus of a project, they can be utilized for any other public purpose and the acquired land cannot be re-assigned or re-conveyed to the original owners, in view of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, reported in 2005(1) S.C.C.at page 558. The Kapus were earlier not only paid compensation to their lands acquired for the project, but also provided with 40 Government jobs. Since the Scheduled castes are landless, no compensation was given to them except a house-site.
A Solidarity Committee was formed with fifty people’s organizations and agitating for the assignment of land to Scheduled Castes and for establishment of the Special Court at Laxmipeta and for speedy trial. The Government of Andhra Pradesh is planning to shift the scheduled castes from Laxmipeta and to provide land elsewhere, to which the Scheduled Castes are not willing. To mobilize support to their legitimate demands, the victims have organised four regional Protest Meets at Tirupati (Rayalaseema) Visakhapatnam (North Andhra), Vijayawada (Circar Districts) and Warangal (Telangana). In an attempt to ventilate their grievances and expose the indifferent and callous attitude of the government, the victims and their Solidarity Committee, staging a peaceful Dharna at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on 6 th September .
In view of this existing situation, we appeal to the Hon’ble Home Minister, Union Of India, to intervene in the matter, advise the Government of Andhra Pradesh to consider the genuine demands of Scheduled Castes which are in tune with the Supreme Court judgment and do justice to the victims of a Caste Carnage which resulted in five deaths and twenty invalids.
The Main Demands 1. The Special Court shall be established at Laxmipeta and the trial to be completed within three months. 2. The 250 acres in Laxmipeta village shall be assigned to the Scheduled Castes of Laxmipeta.
Laxmipeta Dalit Struggle Solidarity Committee.
(Bojja Tharakam) Convenor
Duddu Prabhakar, Geddam Jhansi & S.Jhansi , Co-Convenors
[Via Karthik Navayan]