AP official ends life, politicos blamed

Victim was tortured by local leaders, say activists


Rajeshwari, Agriculture Officer, who set herself ablaze four days ago, died on Sunday morning.

The State Government has ordered an inquiry into the incident following outrage by women activists and physically challenged people.

In her dying declaration, Rajeshwari named the local Telugu Desam Party MLA, Seeta Dayakar Rao, and three Congress representatives in the mandal and zilla parishads as responsible for her death.

Seeta Dayakar Rao, however, denied abusing Rajeshwari and said she did not know why she had been named. She also suspected it was a “conspiracy” hatched by her political opponents.

Rajeshwari attempted suicide after a review meeting of the department, which was attended by the local MLAs, among others. Seeta Dayakar Rao said there were at least 15 officials who would vouch for her.

Dying declaration

However, according to her dying declaration, Rajeshwari said she felt “tortured” by the Congress and Telugu Desam Party leaders over the allotment of subsidised sprinklers under a government scheme to popularise micro-irrigation. She added she felt “humiliated” as her physical disability was highlighted.

Activists here said it was clear that politicians were responsible for the suicide as Rajeshwari was caught in a tug of war between the Congress and Telugu Desam Party leaders to get the sprinklers allotted to their respective loyalists.

Handicaps

They pointed out that Rajeshwari was unmarried, and that she faced no domestic problems.

“She overcame the handicaps of gender, class, caste and physical disability but could not face political pressures,” said Sandhya, president, Progressive Organisation for Women.

Rajeshwari’s mother, a beedi roller, was inconsolable as she recalled how she had struggled to educate her daughter.

Rajeshwari had completed MSc before her appointment as a gazetted officer six months ago.

Meanwhile, local activists said the elected representatives mistreat officials and treat them as their “servants”, besides interfering in their work.

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