M. Rajeev

MUDIGONDA (Khammam Dist): Residents of this sleepy village are yet to come to terms with Saturday’s incident in which a few of their own people fell victim to police bullets.

Tension is palpable in the village with people and police ranged against each other and the area continues to look like a battle field. Talk of ‘police excess’ is heard wherever villagers are found in groups, big or small. They continue to make such gesticulations towards police that are making them to sit on alert every time.

VIP visits and the consolation offered by them are renewing the anger of the residents. “The firing was unwarranted and police resorted to the act without a formal warning,” they said and accused Mudigonda sub-inspector Venkat Reddy of precipitating the situation by asking for more force, to evict people who were peacefully staging their ‘rasta roko’. “Why should they open fire at all ? They could have used their lathis,” says Padma, an eye-witness to Saturday’s firing. “The police who used a stationary vehicle as cover continued firing even as people were fleeing,” she said.

CPI (M) MLA Sunnam Rajaiah, who is camping at the spot, told The Hindu that the Additional SP was trying to target party leaders on several occasions. “This was the same officer who ordered firing at the peacefully agitating CPI (M) activists in Bhadrachalam earlier this year,” he said. Government’s decision to suspend the SI and CI has no doubt, come as a relief for them. But they are insisting that criminal proceedings be initiated against police officials who were involved in the ‘brutal murder’ of the people.