Last rites of slain forest official in Telangana held with state honours

NewsDrum Desk
23 Nov 2022

Hyderabad, Nov 23 (PTI) The Forest Range Officer (FRO) who was allegedly killed by two persons from the Guthi Koya (tribal group) was cremated on Wednesday and the duo involved in the crime were taken into custody, police said.

Amid chants of "Srinivasa Rao Amar Rahe", FRO Ch Srinivasa Roa was cremated with full state honours in Khammam district today.

Two persons, from the Guthi Koya, who allegedly killed the officer over a 'Podu' land issue in Bhadradri Kothagudem district were taken into custody and weapons have been seized from them, police said today.

Srinivasa Rao (42) was brutally attacked near a plantation area of the forest in Chandrugonda mandal on Tuesday.

Following an information that the plantation raised by the Forest department was being damaged by letting in cattle, the FRO along with another forest staff went there to stop it. Suddenly two persons from among a group from the Guthi Koya habitation allegedly started attacking the FRO with axes and he suffered serious injuries on his neck and head and subsequently succumbed on the way to hospital.

The slain officer, a native of Erlapudi village in Khammam district, is survived by his wife, son and daughter. He had joined the Forest department in 2004 and was promoted as FRO in 2017, officials said.

Srinivasa Rao was the recipient of KVS Babu state gold medal for forest protection in his range in 2021.

Strongly condemning the brutal killing of Srinivasa Rao, the forest personnel demanded the government to provide weapons to the field staff of the forest department.

A large number of forest personnel were among those who joined the procession of the FRO's last rites.

Telangana Forest Minister A Indrakaran Reddy and erstwhile Khammam District Minister P Ajay Kumar, senior officials were among those, who offered their last respects and attended the funeral.

The forest personnel, who were seen wearing black badges also raised slogans like "We want justice" and "evict Guthi Koyas". They demanded stern punishment to the culprits at the earliest.

Indrakaran Reddy said migrant tribals were damaging the forests. He said the government will not tolerate attacks on forest personnel.

The issue of 'Podu' lands (Podu cultivation is a form of shifting cultivation) is a bone of contention with forest officials trying to enforce law in forest areas and those involved in 'Podu' farming resisting it.

The issue has seen friction between 'Podu' cultivators and forest officials in the state with incidents of attacks on forest personnel taking place. PTI VVK GDK KH KH

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