The Rayachoti Urban Police have registered cases under various sections of the IPC against the representatives of a group of Scheduled Tribe (ST) organisations on charges of preventing Annamayya District Forest Officer P. Vivek from attending to his duties and trying to assault him physically at the Collectorate on September 13.
The DFO told the media on September 17 (Sunday) that a group of ST families hailing from Shikarpalem hamlet of Thatiguntapalle village in Veeraballi mandal had been demanding title deeds and pattadar passbooks under the Recognition of Forest Rights (RoFR) Act for a patch of forest land which had red sanders trees and water bodies.
He claimed that vested interests had misled the families with false promises that they would be provided with pattas for the forest land in question.
The DFO said that he went to the Annamayya district Collectorate in Rayachoti for a meeting on September 13 when the tribal people and a group of representatives of ST organisations who were demanding title deeds and pattas surrounded him at the entrance gate and tried to assault him physically.
“It is unfortunate that some vested interests were behind the incident. I must protect the forest land and I will not yield to any pressure. Some groups, by creating false documents, are trying to obtain ownership of the patch of forest land that has red sander trees. In 2017, senior officials had clarified that the land in question at Shikarpalem belonged to the Forest Department,” the IFS officer said.
Meanwhile, the A.P. NGOs Association and the A.P. Forest Officials Association condemned the incident and urged the Police Department to initiate action against those involved in the attack.
The police said that they would verify the CCTV footage gathered from the Collectorate building as part of the investigation into the complaint lodged by the DFO. The accused included A.P. Girijan Samakhya general secretary Viswanatha Naik, ST leaders Sankar Naik, Ramesh, and Anchalaiah.