Forest officer assaulted by politico fears for her life

Chole Anitha, a female forest officer, climbs on a tractor to save herself from the brutal attack of the farmers, who were protesting against the ploughing of land by the forest department for a mass plantation programme, at Sarsala village in Kaghaznagar.

Chole Anitha, the forest range officer who was brutally attacked with sticks by Kagajnagar legislator Koneru Konappa’s youngest brother Koneru Krishna Rao and his men, is recovering from her injuries but fears for her life.

The incident occurred in Sarasala forest village in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district on Sunday when forest officers were trying to plant saplings to compensate for the loss of forest cover for Kaleshwaram project.

The lady officer, Chole Anitha, climbed a tractor to save herself but that didn’t stop the mob from mercilessly attacking her. She fell down crying in pain. Political leaders and uniformed men and women who were present could do nothing but look on helplessly. TRS leader Koneru Krishna Rao, who is also zilla parishad vice-chairman, allegedly led the attack. He is the brother of Kagaznagar MLA Koneru Konappa of TRS. 

Undergoing treatment at KIM’s hospital here, she told the media on Monday, “I fear life threat from those people. They would come out of the jail and plan an attack again. They are known for organising masses against government officials and instigating violence. My predecessors in the area too faced such attacks.” A very disturbed Anitha demanded that the government sack Konappa who is known for instigating tribals against forest officers.

Anitha believes that such incidents will prevent women like her from standing up for causes. Narrating on Sunday’s attack, she said that Krishna first pushed the policemen and the forest staff when they were getting ready to do their job of clearing the forest land. “When I stood up on the tractor and was telling everyone to stop, he targeted me,” she said. She wants to get back to her work after discharge from the hospital.

So far, no government representative, except for Asifabad district superintendent of police Malla Reddy, visited her. Forest minister P Indrakaran Reddy condemned the attack. Ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Party working president KT Rama Rao tweeted strongly denouncing the brutal attack. The district police had already arrested Krishna and some of his associates.

Forest officers and staff took out a rally in Kagajnagar on Monday demanding protection for the forest personnel and justice for Anitha. The opposition Congress demanded that MLA Konappa be punished along with his brother Krishna.

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