Andhra Pradesh – Fact Finding Committee report on Laxmipet Atrocity

September 18, 2012

A fact finding team consisting of teachers from University of Hyderabad and Osmania University and an independent researcher visited Laxmipet in Vangara mandal in Srikakulam district for two days during 8-9 September 2012, where 5 dalits were butchered and several dalits were seriously injured in an attack on the dalit colony in the early hours of June 12, 2012. The members are: Prof Arun Patnaik, Dr. Laxminarayana and Dr KY Ratnam from University of Hyderabad, Prof K Srinivasulu from Osmania University and Dr M Timma Reddy independent researcher.

Following are the findings of the committee:

1. Even two months after the atrocity, the dalitwada is gripped in fear and extreme sense of insecurity. This is only heightened by the suspicious visits of the influential Turpu Kapu men from the neighbouring villages to Laxmipet and their suspicious movements only makes them fear the possibility of a more brutal attack.

2. The attack on the dalit on 12 June 2012 was a well thought, well planned and meticulous executed is evident from the fact that it was timed at 7 am and went on four hours without interruption and with sharp focus on the targets. In this operation while the local Turpu Kapu men gave the directions, the men from the neighbouring villages along with the local women and children actively executed it. There are three instances where the men fatally attacked the dalits, the Kapu women and grown up children completed the task.

3. Despite the fact that there was an active participation of the Turpu Kapu women and children in the attack no cases were filed against the women and children and none of them arrested. This is clearly an evidence of the shabby done by the investigating agency and clearly points to the dilution of the case and gross undermining of the gravity of the atrocity. Therefore we demand that the case is properly reinvestigated and the criminals among women and children be arrested and prosecuted.

4. There were several instances which pointed to the prevalence of the tensions between the Turpu Kapus and dalits. Two events when a dalit president of the local Mahila Mandali was attacked and injured who later died (after two months) and the attack on Chitra Appadu were treated as ordinary cases and booked under PCR Act when in fact they deserved SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. If they were to be booked under the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, that would have acted as a check on the dominant Kapus and prevented the heinous crime on June 12. The casual treatment of these instances in fact seems to have emboldened the Kapu for an attack on larger scale.

5. The committee has noticed similar tensions in other areas along the right branch canal due to the lopsided and irregular land acquisition and its faulty execution. Poram is a clear instance of such a potential conflict. To avoid the reoccurrence of Laximpet in other areas, the district administration (revenue, irrigation and police) must take proper precautions and pre-emptive measures.

6. The Fact finding committee is shocked to note that the Laxmipet atrocity happened at a time when the local CI, ASP, DSP, MRO and the MLA and minister all belonged to the Dalit community. Their failure at prevention gets further compounded when we realise their miserable inadequacy in their response at initiating the justice mechanism by bringing the culprits to book and address the grievances of the victims. It is travesty of the social responsibility that is expected of those who are beneficiaries of the reservation policy towards the depressed community. This only sadly reminds us of what Dr. Bhabasaheb Ambedkar forewarned us about the dalit brokers.