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ANDHRA PRADESH-Carnage at Indravelli A Report

ANDHRA PRADESH Carnage at Indravelli: A Report M Raghuram THE ongoing movement of the Gond tribals in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh against their decades-old ex- loitation took a new turn on April 20 when the police opened fire on their large gathering at Indravelli village, a cotton trading centre 35 kms from Adilabad town, killing, according to official statements, 13 and injuring 9. The Gonds had gathered in large numbers at Indravelli in response to the call of the Girijan Rythu Coolie Sangham of the Radical Youth League, a wing of the CFI(ML) l^d by Kondapalli Sitarayamayya. Permission had been granted to hold the meeting, but was cancelled on April 20, the day the meeting was scheduled, ostensibly because a "Society for the protection of Rights of Non-Tribals" had complained to the police that the tribals had planned to burn and loot their houses besides harming their person and hence also wanted to hold a counter meeting that very day. The Gonds who came to attend the gather- in? which had been published for weeks were stopped at the entrance of the village and asked to disperse since ban orders were in force that day. Insisting on their right to hold their planned and scheduled meeting the tribals refused to disperse. According to the Chief Minister, the Gonds were armed with spears, sickles, sticks and stones; and according to the Adilabad District Superintendent of Police, they also carried with them chilli powder. The SP, Adilabad, claims that the police fired on the crowd after a few rounds of teargassing proved ineffective and after it attacked the SO policemen and five officials, spearing to death one policeman and seriously injuring all the officials (who were however not treated medically). According to the Chief Minister, the police resorted to firing after the lathi-charge proved ineffective; and the Home Minister has claimed that the officials had first persuaded the Gonds to disperse, but that the Gonds had regrouped and attacked the policemen and officials, being ins- stigated to do so by the 'extremists' hiding in the nearby villages. All these versions were doled out separately on different occasions.
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