The state of Andhra Pradesh continues to witness attacks on the underprivileged communities, including Dalits, Muslims, Tribals among others. An increased number of such incidents is being reported and the inaction of the state against the miscreants have yielded no results. Most recently, an attack on a woman entrepreneur from the Dalit community shook the people of Andhra Pradesh. Dalits have openly stated that they will always be subjugated to discrimination and suffering under the current ruling dispensation, irrespective of their economic status.
Ms. Laxmi Narasimhan a native of Machilipatnam, settled in Bengaluru, Karnataka has taken 147 acres on lease from Nukala Ramakrishna, an aqua trader at Rs. 90,000 per acre to employ locals by cultivating prawns. It has been alleged that the Lessor (landowner) Nukala Ramakrishna along with his son Nukala Balaraju illegally shifted produce of about 200 tonnes worth Rs. 5 crores from the tanks to his processing unit without the consent of Ms. Laxmi in April this year. Ms. Laxmi went to the local police station to complain about the issue, but the local police neither registered a complaint nor acted against the accused.
After this, the father-son duo forcibly took away the prawn yield from the tanks for a second time. Ms. Laxmi’s attempts to register cases against the accused were futile. Only after the intervention of the state Director General of Police (DGP) Gautham Sawang, the local police have registered a complaint against the accused under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, but no follow-up and recovery from the accused have been done till date. Since even after lodging a formal complaint no action was taken by the cops, Ms. Laxmi was compelled to bring the matter to the press.
Failing to get back her produce, Ms. Laxmi addressed the press recently and appealed to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to help her get justice and make the police take adequate action against the miscreants.
The fact that a Dalit woman entrepreneur was compelled to approach the media even after the intervention from the DGP, shows the inconsiderate attitude of the local police. Even the High Court of Andhra Pradesh during the hearing of several habeas corpus petitions had questioned the failure of the DGP in disciplining and controlling the state police under him. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on several occasions highlighted the actions taken by the government in safeguarding the rights of the people, but the ground reality seems to be the opposite.
The present situation indicates an immediate need for course correction by the current government. It also shows the actual situation of law and order in Andhra Pradesh. This incident makes it clear that disciplinary action must be initiated against the erring officials. Rule of Law is the bedrock of every democracy and democratic institution and must be followed by every individual.