As many as 723 people and their families have been facing untold miseries with the denial of passports, visas, government jobs and other opportunities, thanks to pending criminal cases against them. The cases were registered in connection with the clashes that occurred on July 14, 2010 during the protest against the establishment of a thermal power plant in the vicinity of Sompeta town.
Three persons — Gunna Jogarao, Bendalam Krishnamurthy and Gonapa Krishnamurthy — were killed in the police firing and around 20 policemen were injured in the clashes during the protest.
The locals fearing air and water pollution participated in the protest following the call given by Paryavarana Parirakshana Sangham (PPS), a locally formed association, to oppose the establishment of the plant by a private company which had acquired lands adjacent to water bodies and wetlands. Cases were filed against the locals for violating law and order as well as indulging in direct clashes with police personnel. After the incident, the company shelved the project. The people’s success in stopping the project could not ensure happiness, owing to the pending cases for the last 13 years.
Gunna Naveen and Gunna Sravanti, children of the deceased Jogarao, urged the government to ensure jobs which were assured to them. A Sompeta youngster, Pinniti Lakshminarayana, could not get a passport although he got a job offer in Saudi Arabia. Another person, Minnarao Irothu, could not renew his passport although he had worked abroad. A businessman Malla Nageswara Rao could not get a passport and visa to go to the U.S. where his children are staying.
Then PPS general secretary and Andhra Pradesh Backward Classes’ Welfare Association State general secretary Beena Dhilli Rao urged Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to withdraw the cases filed in the Baruva police station immediately as the future of many youngsters was at stake.
“While consoling the families of the firing victims earlier, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy had assured to do justice and withdraw the cases if he was voted to power. We request him to do it as early as possible, as police personnel are rejecting no objection certificates for issuing passports. Many elderly persons are also unable to go abroad to meet their children who are studying and doing jobs in various countries,” said Mr. Dhilli Rao speaking to The Hindu.
When contacted, senior advocate Jallu Tirupathirao said that the government could provide relief by withdrawing those cases.