TMC clears encroachment as police 'clear' onlookers

Bagepalli Taluk Municipal Council president Sujathamma and her husband Babu Reddy object to the clearing of the memorial to Reddy’s father on Thursday. The memorial to Town Municipal Council president’s father-in-law, which is adjacent to the main road near Venkateshwara Movie Theatre, was cleared on Thursday evening.

Heavy police security was provided for the clearance, which angered the TMC president Sujathamma and her husband Babu Reddy. Both of them, however, were forcibly pushed away, only leading to a tense situation.

The crowd that had gathered to watch the clearance too was lathi-charged by the police.

Late politician

The memorial of Dr G V Reddy, former Zilla Panchayat member and father of G V Babu Reddy, was initially erected adjacent to a street next to the main road, preventing easy movement of vehicles and pedestrians. The memorial area was cleared during a road-widening drive.

Later, however, the memorial was rebuilt next to the main road, after Sujathamma used political influence to get approval. Granite stones were also laid near the memorial.

Protest effect

There had been tussle among political leaders the last few days regarding clearing of the memorial. There was also a protest for three days by the members of the Public Properties Protection Forum against encroachments of the Town Municipal Council (TMC) park.

A meeting was organised on Wednesday evening at the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) office in Chikkaballapur between the DC and leaders of various organisations to resolve the issue. The protesters had requested safeguarding of TMC properties. Responding to the request, the DC had instructed the Assistant Commissioner Sathish Kumar to visit Bagepalli on Thursday.

The AC, tahsildar T A Hanumanthaiah and TMC chief officer Sudhakar Bhat visited the site of the memorial by the road. Finding it obstructive, the AC instructed the TMC chief officer to clear the memorial.

Chief objects

Sujathamma and her husband Babu Reddy, however, arrived at the spot and objected. A verbal tussle between the couple and the police also ensued.

Some TMC members supported the president and her husband. When they tried to prevent the clearing, police sub-inspector Anand Kumar expressed anger against a former vice-president.

The AC ordered the TMC chief officer and staff to clear the memorial. The police had to forcibly push away Sujathamma and Babu Reddy, who tried again to prevent the clearance.

Work then continued peacefully, except for an act of violence by the police, as they lathi-charged curious public who gathered in large numbers to watch the demolition.

Team to probe encroachment

Responding to the protest against illegal encroachment in Bagepalli, Deputy Commissioner Dr N Manjula agreed to form a team to conduct investigation into allegations.

Announcing this at a press meet on Thursday, Dalit Sangharsha Samiti taluk co-ordinator B V Venkataramana said taluk officers have been directed to clear encroachment on Chitravathi and Bajiraya canals. “Cemeteries built near the main road will be vacated as they are causing inconvenience to road-users. The team will probe into encroachment of public properties, parks and irregularities in TMC’s administration.”

Raitha Sangha taluk unit president sought a probe into alleged encroachment of a site for Kannada Kala Sangha in the taluk. He threatened to hold protest if the authorities failed to clear encroachment.

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