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Police say villagers attacked them with stones and sticks, torched their jeep
Staff of ‘108' ambulances could not immediately enter the villages
Deadly blow: A woman in tears in front of her house which was gutted in Vadditandra in Srikakulam district on Monday. (Right) Chinnamma, mother of J. Nageswara Rao, who was killed in police firing, is inconsolable.
SRIKAKULAM: In a repeat of the tragedy in Sompeta eight months ago, police opened several rounds of fire on villagers resisting their presence in Kakarapalli, where a thermal plant of East Coast Energy is coming up, killing two persons and injuring nearly 25 others.
The dead were identified as Sirapu Yerraiah (36) of Sirapuvani Peta and J. Nageswara Rao (35) of Akashalakkavaram. Among the 25 injured, two were identified as Ganesh and Raju, who were fired upon by armed policemen at close range with rubber bullets.
The tragedy was compounded when 50 houses were gutted as police reportedly hurled smoke bombs in Vadditandra village to disperse angry mobs that clashed with the policemen . Several families were rendered homeless. Utter chaos prevailed in Vadditandra as many women kept children in homes to ensure their safety in the wake of bitter fight between the agitators and police.
Police claimed that the villagers attacked them with stones and sticks besides torching a police jeep. They retaliated with guns, teargas shells and lathis to bring the situation under control.
Locals feared shifting the injured persons to hospitals as police continued firing on them from all sides. Staff of ‘108' ambulances could not immediately enter the villages which were completely turned into a war zone since three days. Trouble began in all the villages when police forcibly tried to arrest the Sarpanch of Akasha Lakkavaram village, S. Ramireddy, who is leading the movement against the establishment of power project. Some villagers tried to enter the power plant in Kakarapalli, leading to further tension with the police.
Initially, the police fired teargas shells to quell the angry mobs but began firing rubber bullets when the situation began to spiral out of control. Villagers disputed the police version that rubber bullets were used and said real bullets were fired on them. Police did not allow locals to take away the bodies and shifted them to Narasannapeta via Tekakli.
The situation came under control in the evening after senior police officials including DIG Soumya Mishra and SP K.V.V. Gopala Rao ordered their men not to fire even rubber bullets.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy announced an ex gratia of Rs. 5 lakh to the families of two persons killed in the firing. At a meeting with Home Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy and senior police officials, he reviewed the situation. Sources said people were not satisfied with the compensation amount and demanded more.
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