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Massive protest against `innocents' arrest

K.V.S. Madhav

1,500-strong crowd lay siege to police station; police forced to release 13 villagers, including 4 students



AT THE FOOTSTEPS OF AGONY: Villagers of Rayapol wailing inconsolably in front of Ibrahimpatnam police station in Ranga Reddy district on Tuesday seeking release of their kith and kin. Photo: P.V. Sivakumar

IBRAHIMPATNAM: Enraged by the police picking up their children and kin suspecting them to be informants of Maoists, a 1,500-strong crowd from Rayapol in Manchal mandal of Ranga Reddy district laid siege to the Ibrahimpatnam police station demanding their return.

Unmindful of the blazing sun, the women and men sat on the doorstep of the police station the entire day, anger swelling in the hearts and tears welling in the eyes, for taking away their `innocent children.' In a region where the police have absolute powers, taking them head-on was undoubtedly a rare and courageous attempt.

200 picked up?

The Cyberabad police are alleged to have picked up some 200 people randomly in the past two months in their attempt to close in on the killers of the BJP leader, Mahendra Goud, at Yacharam in Manchal mandal, raising the hackles of people and spreading fear psychosis in the area. The CPI(M) MLA, M. Narsimha, joined the sit-in even as women protesters heaped abuse on the police. The legislator himself was an agitated man as there was no trace of his party secretary of Thallapalliguda hamlet, Erpula Narsimha, whom he had personally handed over to the police for a `counselling session.' "Five days have passed by but there is no sign of him. The situation is clearly spiralling out of control," the party's district secretary, D.G. Narasimha Rao said.

Taken aback by the unexpected protest, the police went on the defensive as the arrested were already `tactfully' shifted to other police stations. Tension mounted as the protestors refused to budge.

"If the police do not free someone whom I handed over in good faith, what is the fate of others?" a fuming Narsimha asked the ACP, Ibrahimpatnam, Obul Reddy, and the CI, Venkateshwarlu.

An inconsolable Mallaiah of Bandlalemuru said his 18-year-old son was whisked away while rearing sheep. "He is a dim-witted fellow. What connections will he have with naxals?" he asked.

Even as the CPI(M) leaders sounded the Cyberabad Police Commissioner, Mahender Reddy, four youngsters who were summoned earlier in the day from Arutla, including a second year degree student appearing for constable recruitment test on May 19, had a lucky reprieve.

Subsequently, the police released the CPI (M) village secretary of Thallapalliguda and another person from nearby Manchala police station.

As the badly bruised duo limped towards women protesters and narrated their torrid experience at the hands of the police, silence descended on the place.

However, the wait was far from over. They could secure the release of seven villagers only late in the evening while another, Kangula Jangaiah was detained. Ithapaka Abbaiah, Driver Yadaiah, Rasuri Parvathalu, Machcha Mahesh, Karre Ibrahim, Guvvala Lakshmaiah, Guvvala Suresh returned home.

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