Amaravati, Jun 10 (IANS): Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday urged Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to immediately halt illegal digging of earthen soil on the banks of the Godavari river and protect the environment.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, he voiced concern over indiscriminate digging of earthen soil and its smuggling by leaders of ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Yelamanchili 'mandal' (block) of West Godavari district.
The former chief minister also condemned the alleged police excesses on Dalit community of Chinchinadu village for protesting against and illegal digging of earthen soil.
He pointed out that Dalit community of Chinchinadu village has been earning their livelihood for the last 60 years by cultivating the assigned lands allocated to them in Yenuguvanilanka village.
Naidu wrote that ruling YSRCP leaders Mudunuri Prasad Raju, MLA and Kavuru Srinivas, MLC through their henchmen have been illegally mining the earthen soil against the rules and smuggling the same to other places. Dalits have been protesting against illegal digging of earthen soil and police have used excessive force against the peacefully protesting Dalits.
"On June 6 police resorted to lathi charge against the peaceful protestors and forcefully arrested them. The police pushed severely injured Dalits into police vehicle and abused them in the name of caste. Instead of taking severely injured Dalits to nearby hospital at Palacolle, police took them to government hospital in Tadepalligudem, which is around 70 kms away," reads the letter.
The TDP chief said though it was a medico-legal case, the police did not take statements from the victims.
He told Jagan Mohan Reddy that as the head of the government he was liable to answer what was the need for the police to resort to lathi-charge against peaceful Dalit protestors and arrest them. He also wanted to know why the police failed to take statements from the injured as per the norms.
"Why is the government allowing digging of earthen soil in spite of its illegality? Why is the government trying to protect the culprits," Naidu asked.
The leader of opposition said he learnt that police kicked Dalit women on their chests. Appalling to note the manner in which the police have been behaving like the party goons instead of discharging their duties and functions as per the Constitution, Naidu wrote.
The TDP chief alleged that around 200 policemen were aiding illegal mining and smuggling. Daylight robbery of natural resources with active support and aid from police is a black spot on the police functioning, he remarked.
Naidu pointed out that as per the norms digging/mining is not permitted within 200 meters range from Godavari River. The indiscriminate digging on the banks of the Godavari river and subsequent movement of heavy vehicles has destroyed the river bund. This will have severe consequences as the destruction of river bund leads to flash floods and would alter the course of the river. He warned against the long term adverse impact on the local ecosystem and environment.
Naidu urged the Chief Minister to take action against police officials for injuring and abusing Dalits. He also demanded arrest of perpetrators of illegal digging of earthen soil.