“My brother and another girijan were shot dead by the police in the forest area of G. Madugula mandal on May 10. I was also beaten up. I am lucky to be alive today,” said Kodabu Krishna Padal, younger brother of Tellanna Padal, here on Friday.

Krishna Padal was talking to reporters after meeting Collector Lav Agarwal.

He was accompanied by his sister-in-law, widow of V. Appa Rao, the other girijan who was killed in the crossfire between the police and the Maoists in the forest area in Luvvasingi panchayat, and CPI (M) leaders — Ch. Narasinga Rao and M. Suryanarayana

Recalling the incident, Krishna Padal said his brother and Appa Rao went ahead of him into the forest area on that day while he was searching for his horse to carry a load of cement. The two were fired at and killed by the police from a height. “I was thrashed by two constables, who initially aimed their weapons at me,” Krishna Padal said.

“I pleaded with them to spare my life and promised to bring my ration card and voter ID card to prove my identity. Fortunately, they spared me. Later, I reached my village by which time reporters and other villagers reached the spot,” he said. Krishna Padal wanted the government to take action against the police and provide succour to his sister-in-law and four children who were left without any livelihood.

A CPI(M) leader of G. Madugula mandal J. Demullu, who reached the place where the exchange of fire took place, said the police initially claimed that no one was killed. They, however, did not allow anybody to go near the area. The villagers did not believe the police and started searching for bodies. When a helicopter landed, they could identify the place and found the police changing the dress of the two girijan farmers. The two were certainly shot dead by the police from a height, he alleged.

Padal and Appa Rao were undertaking podu cultivation. Appa Rao is survived by wife and a month-old baby girl, said the CPI(M) leaders.

Mr. Narasinga Rao said the Collector had promised to institute a magisterial inquiry within a week into the incident. The party demanded that the government pay a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh to each family and other forms of support.

Condemning the incident, he sought a thorough inquiry and action against the police. After the incident, the Girijans were afraid of even visiting shandies and their livelihood was greatly affected, he said.

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