Cops fire in air to quell violence

Dalit houses ransacked, ten injured; Bangalore Urban DC orders fresh survey

Cops fire in air to quell violence

A damaged goods tempo  at Janthagondanahalli of Anekal Taluk near Bangalore on Tuesday. (Right) Muniyamma showing injuries  sustained in the attack over land dispute. DH Photos / Vino John.

As many as ten people, including seven dalits, were injured and two autorickshaws, a car and a two-wheeler were damaged in the violence.

Here's how the events unfolded: Ravi Kumar, a labourer from Jantagondanahalli, was asleep on the floor next to a window of his house when a bang jolted him: a group of five persons had stormed into his house and was smashing its windowpanes.

Before he could realise what was happening, Kumar was dragged by the feet, and was punched and hit repeatedly on the legs, the thigh and the chest. His wife, Manjula, was pulled by her hair and her chain was taken away. Kumar's was one of the six houses attacked by miscreants in an alleged attack on the Dalits after a land dispute spun out of control.

According to the police, it all started when Puttappa, a Reddy who owned an agricultural land, brought the Taluk Panchayat officials on Monday evening to measure the property and evict the Dalits who had allegedly encroached on a piece of his land.

The Dalits, however, strongly objected saying they had built the houses on the land provided by the State Government way back in 1979. This escalated the tension and led to a near group clash before the Neriga Gram Panchayat officials intervened and sorted the matter out by asking the two Dalit houses to vacate the place. In turn, they would be given land somewhere else.

Nonetheless, the sleepy village, which is part of Neriga Gram Panchayat, was shaken when miscreants, said to be belonging to the Reddy community, started attacking the houses of the Dalits.

Nearly six Dalit houses were attacked, their windowpanes were damaged and, in a few instances, the inmates were thrashed, the police said.

Retaliating, the Dalits attacked the house of Bhadra Reddy, one of the alleged attackers. Apart from assaulting Bhadra Reddy, they also beat up his mother Muniyamma and wife Padmavathi.

Rushed to hospital

At this stage, the police intervened and fired in the air. In the melee, two constables were also injured and have been rushed to the hospital.

Condemning the incident, the Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (KDSS) termed it an 'atrocity' on the community and claimed it was sixth such incident so far. Mavalli Shankar, State Convener, KDSS, accused the district administration and the police of "not acting against the culprits" despite a number of complaints.

Sheshappa, whose house is situated next to the vacant land, lodged a complaint with the Sarjapura police.

His mother Gowramma told Deccan Herald that Bhadra Reddy, Puttappa's relative Lokesh, and others barged into their house and started abusing them. Showing her wounds, she said: "Lokesh abused and nearly smothered me. He also didn't spare my son Rajendra and daughter Pramila."

Fresh survey

On Tuesday, Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner MK Aiyappa visited the spot and ordered for stoppage of the survey. Instead, a fresh survey would be undertaken by the Assistant Commissioner and all Dalit families would be given the sale deeds.

Shankarappa M, Deputy Superintendent of Police, said that five persons named in the complaint - Venkatesh, Puttanna, , Karthik, Papaiah, and Krishnappa - were arrested. Four others - Lokesh, Bhadra Reddy, his wife Padmavathi, and Manjunath - would be arrested soon.

A case under Sections 143, 147, 148, 323, 324, 448, 427, 506 and 149 of the IPC read with Section 3 (1) (10) (11) of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 has been booked.

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