Hyderabad: The Home Minister, Ms Sabita Indra Reddy, on Tuesday informed the House that the police had fired rubber bullets to quell the menacing crowd at Kakarapalli in Srikakulam district that resulted in death of two protestors.
Making a statement in the Assembly on the incident of police firing at Kakarapalli, Ms Sabita Indra Reddy said that police firing took place on February 28 at about 12 noon at Kakarapalli village under Santhabommali mandal, Srikakulam district in which two agitators died five persons injured. Ten policemen were also injured in the incident, she added. She said that the East Cost Energy Private Limited obtained requisite permissions from the Centre and the State government for establishment of a 2,640 MW thermal power project at Kakarapalli. Minor protests were staged by the villagers of H N Peta, Akasalakkavaram, Godlam, Atlavaram, HT Peta and Vaddithanda against the establishment of the power plant in their area. As the protests were intensified after the Sompeta incident, several cases were also booked against the agitators since 2009, she added.
The Home Minister reminded that a few months back, the villagers blocked two roads leading to the plant. But on February 17, the villagers armed with sticks, iron rods, crow bars and spades were digging the only route in order to block total access to the power plant. When the RDO of Tekkali rushed to the spot to convince the local people, the latter assaulted him and damaged his vehicle. A case has been booked against the agitators, she claimed.
“The police imposed orders under Section 30 of Police Act and Section 144 Cr PC since all routes to the power plant were blocked by the locals and the agitators were taking law into their hands”, the Home Minister said.
Ms Sabita Indra Reddy said that the Collector of Srikakulam district forwarded a letter of East Coast Power Pvt Ltd to the government for resumption of works at the project and provide police security to maintain law and order. The police made a vain effort to convince the people not to take law into their hands to resolve the issue through talks. However, the villagers armed with sticks, rods and chilly powder, attacked the police, who were clearing the road blockades on February 25. The police dispersed the angry mob by using tear gas, rubber pellets and also resorted to lathi-charge in which nine agitators and eight policemen were injured, she maintained. The leaders spearheading agitation had instigated the villagers to attack the management of the East Coast Power Plant and the policemen resulting in tense situation, she added.
“Actually, the police personnel had withdrawn from the picket near the plant site. On receipt of the information on February 28 that the people from different villages were gathering at HN Peta and Vaddithandra junction with an intent to indulge in violent activities, the Superintendent of Police , Srikakualm and DIG, Visakhapatnam range, directed the policemen to remain alert and strengthen the picket near H N Peta to prevent any untoward incident. But at about 12 noon, 7000 people armed with sticks and rods gathered and surrounded the policemen at HN Peta and burnt the jeep of the Circle Inspector of Srikakulam and caused damage to vehicle of SI, Santhabommali. The police warned the mob to disperse but in vain”, the Home Minister informed.
Moreover, some 200 persons started pelting stones at the police and an another group of 500 persons who were waiting near the field also started coming very close to the police since the stones thrown by them were not hitting the police, she claimed and added that the police resorted to lathi-charge and fired plastic pellets against the mob. Later, the police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowed, she claimed.
“In the firing, Mr Jeeru Nageshwara Rao of Akasalakavaram died at the spot while Seerapu Yerraiah, a native of Seerapuvaripeta, who received injury on forearm died at his home. Five agitators and ten policemen were also injured in the incident,” she added. The Home Minister revealed that the police fired 34 plastic pellets and 17 rubber bullets against the agitators in the incident. The Superintendent of Police of the district and DIG have already visited the scene and closely monitoring the situation, she added. (NSS)