ANDHRA PRADESH

Chevella incident draws flak

HYDERABAD June 26. Wednesday's police lathicharge and firing on farmers at Chevella, which resulted in serious injuries to three persons, is attracting criticism from different quarters.

Major political parties, including the TDP's ally, the BJP, and different trade unions and human rights organisations described the incident as yet another proof of the Government's failure to come to the rescue of the agricultural community by providing the required quantity of seed. Criticising what they called the highhanded behaviour of the police, they demanded that the Government order an inquiry into the incident and take stringent action against the police personnel responsible for it.

Addressing a press conference here, the BJP Floor leader in the Assembly, N. Indrasena Reddy, said that the incident reflected the failure of the administration to assess the requirement of seed and lack of planning to meet the requirement. "The Government should order a judicial inquiry into the incident to bring out the facts,'' he said. Instead of pacifying the agitated farmers, the police adopted a highhanded behaviour and resorted to lathicharge, he said.

At a separate press conference, the TRS president, K. Chandrasekhar Rao, said the incident only reflected the inefficient and irresponsible attitude of the Government in dealing with the issue. "Why should the police come into picture when seed distribution is supposed to be taken up by agricultural officers,'' he asked, demanding that the Government tender an unconditional apology to people and withdraw cases, if any, registered against farmers.

Criticising the "highhanded" behaviour of the police, the CPI State Council secretary, S. Sudhakara Reddy, demanded that the Government immediately suspend the Sub-Inspector and constable involved in the incident.

Addressing a press conference, he also demanded that senior police officials, including the Ranga Reddy SP, be transferred for what he called their irresponsible attitude towards distressed farmers.

Condemning the incident, the People's Union of Civil Liberties said that instead of a magisterial inquiry, the Government should order a probe by the Human Rights Commission to ascertain the facts.

Stating that the PUCL would depute a fact-finding committee to inquire into the incident, the PUCL general secretary, Jaya Vindhyala, demanded that the Government announce an ex gratia of Rs. 1 lakh to those injured in the firing. The CITU and the Socialist Unity Centre of India also condemned the firing on farmers.

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