"It may be your interest to be our masters, but how can it be ours to be your slaves?"- Thucydides.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Bojja Tarakam Speech on Lakshmipeta
The original video can be seen in the following link:
The following was translated by Keerti Azad.
You all know the incident that happened here. I do not have to speak much here. Just as pigs and cattle are chased after and killed, the kapus (forward caste) in Lakshmipeta killed 5 malas (dalits). There are about twenty of them in the hospital. You all know this. What should happen now?
We have 5 people.. (audio not clear). What is very surprising here is when you see a woman, you would think that she is a mother who gives birth and is an embodiment of kindness, but here when a mother pierced through the body of a dalit with a barsi (an iron rod with a sharp end) and remarks, “if this mala fellow is killed or not”, what should we say about such a thing! How could we even consider them as humans? We all came here (referring to the dais, where the protest meeting is happening) in such circumstances. What should we do to them? Even police also came here, they are sitting here and there are some more sitting there. As we came, they were asking us who we are. So we told them that there is a meeting and we are going there. But they are not satisfied with that answer. They want to know who we are. They are not capable of finding those people who are responsible for the incident, but they want to catch us and ask these questions. These police fellows who cannot catch Vasudeva Rao ask us who we are (the crowd clasps). Don’t these fellows know where Vasudeva Rao Naidu is? Ask them to tell us that they don’t know where he is. Anyone here, who is a responsible officer, ask him to come here and announce on this stage that they don’t know where this vasudeva rao naidu is and they are unable to trace him. The next morning after you make this announcement, we will find him and hand him over to you. Just tell us that you can’t find him. On 11th where did they meet, what was the conspiracy, in whose house did they meet, what was the plan, who got the bombs, who arranged things, look at their cell phones, you will find everything there. Can’t you even find his cell phone? If you cannot find his cell phone, just announce that you are so incompetent that you cannot find vasudeva rao’s cell phone. We will find his cell phone for you. We will uncover all the details of whom he talked to and who he planned this with.
There are some people who said after the loss of lives that we lost the lives and we will mourn over their death for two days and after three more days, the grief may disappear, but what is it that we want? We want the person who is responsible for this…the one who planned this.
What did they ask? We have our lands, just as you kapus are able to till the lands, we also want to till our lands. We have been tilling our lands for twelve years now. Now you are saying that we should not till the land. This land does not belong to kapus, it belongs to the government. Did those people know this or not, did these police people know this or not, did the revenue people know this or not, did your collector know this or not, did your joint collector know this or not, I don’t know…but that land belongs to the government. That belongs to the collector, that belongs to the reddy down there, but that does not belong to Kapus. Who are these kapus to tell them not to go to that land? What right do they have? They have no right. If they ever had any right that was before and later he sold it away. Now, let us say if anyone sells away his cow and then that cow gives birth to calf and now he comes back and says that both the cow and the calf are his, will we accept it? They sold away the land. Not just selling away the land, but they took some 40 jobs. There is no mala fellow in this village, who got a single job.
I don’t want to speak for more than two minutes. There are others who have to speak here. Why are we saying that we should have that vasu deva rao naidu caught? We are saying that because in the report that was stolen, it was written that he was the conspirator and also responsible for the crime. We call it First Investigation Report. It was there in that. His name was there. Ask these police people to tell us that his name is not there. The convict wrote 45 names and the 46th name was his. Why is it 46th name, why wasn’t it the first name? Why didn’t he write that name first? Who took off that name? Who gave instructions that the name be removed? There are eye witnesses here. It was the minister Kondru Murali, of this area, who called the police asking them why they included vasudeva rao naidu’s name in the report. What should we do to him? Some of you here might be getting angry that I am saying this, but that is the fact. He called personally and intervened to make sure that his name is removed from the list. Why did he do that? What is the relationship between him and Vasudeva Rao? What is the relationship between him and this land? What was the necessity for him to save him? I asked Kondru Murali to issue a statement in the news paper if he is not behind saving vasu deva rao from arrest or covering up his crime. Ask him to issue a statement that he will not prevent his arrest if the police catch him. If vasudeva rao is arrested, avula srinivasa rao will come, if not avula devi fellow will come, if not devi some or the other fellow will come. Why aren’t they coming? What we need today is Vasudeva Rao’s arrest and avula srinivasa rao’s arrest. The others will come automatically, but first arrest these two. Until these two are arrested, this movement will not stop in Srikakulam. Arrest them first. How many people will you stop? You may be police people and you may have pistols etc. But how many people can you stop? First arrest this avula srinivasa rao. He should be punished, if that cannot be done, these police people should resign. Apparently there are three officers who are transferred and those posts are kept in vacancy reserved. It is not about keeping them vacant. There is a law which is known as prevention of atrocities against SCs and STs. If there is an incident like this, one should come immediately and investigate the crime scene. What does the law tell you? It tells you that if such an incident happens, the collector and the SP should go there immediately. But has the collector come? No. Has the SP come? No. First dismiss those two people. It is not about transferring these people. First dismiss them or even suspend them. After suspending them, a case should be launched against them.
You studied law, you made the law. We did not make the law. Act according to that law. Why do you send these SIs and CIs? What happened to the SP and the collector? Whoever did not discharge their duties here…there was a police picketing here until the day. The picketing was withdrawn on 11th night and 12th morning. Why did you withdraw that and who gave those orders? Those fellows should come out. Who did it? Was it the minister? Botsa Satyanarayana (PCC Chief)? The collector? Ask them to tell us who asked them to withdraw and why? You should have an order right? Then tell us.
On that day morning, when they saw a group of people, some body anticipated the trouble and called up the police immediately seeking their help to safeguard their lives. But police did not move. No police fellow moved. Why did you first withdraw the police and after you were told, why did you not move? This should first come to light. You should remember that the movement should be very strong if we want his arrest. Vasudeva Rao is not an ordinary person. He is not just a mandal president. He has a lot of support. He has two horns. We think that only bulls have horns. Even people have horns. One horn is Kondru Murali and the other horn is Botsa Satyanarayana. Until we break those two horns, we will not stop the struggle. We should tell them that it is their responsibility. We should ask them if they will hand vasu to the police or will you step down. So we should just remember that they should be first arrested, the case should be continued and then they should be punished. Until then we should not stop here. After Karamchedu, people thought that nothing will happen, but the court continued, the miscreants were punished. 6 people were sentenced for life and 40-50 people were sentenced for 6-7 years of imprisonment. They went to high court and later to Supreme court also. Supreme court also upheld the orders of the high court. It took 20 years for the punishment, even then finally we made sure they were punished. A supreme court judge asked us why we are still fighting the case when some of them died and some of them became old. He asked us why we can’t leave it. I answered that our people became old and died for generations together facing injustice and this fellow is only one. What about all our people who died? Then the supreme court judge confirmed the punishment. Sundur is also the same. It may be 5 or 10 years. They appealed in the high court, it may go to supreme court. If it does, then we will see. We have our own weapons. We are not going to stop. How long will we stop? Who will stop? You will do this because you have police with you, money with you, courts with you, ministers with you, will you go on killing people like that? These people are all saying go ahead and kill them. Okay let them tell you to kill us, we will see how long this will go on. That is why I am saying until those punishments happen..I am also asking another thing. They took axes and barsis and killed people and one old mother pleaded asking them not to kill her son and they even broke her hands. There was a mother who got water hoping that there is some life in his son and these fellows also broke her hands. What can I say about such people? You killed them and on top of that when the mother is trying to keep the son alive, will you break her hands? Tell me what we should do to such people.
What I am asking is, wherever such ghastly incident took place we should hold a court right here not in the adjoining village. Right here. The blood is still there. Though it happened on 12th, the blood is still there. Blood is there on the doors, clothes, soil and everywhere. So these fellows who killed those people should be convicted right here. There is a third demand that I have and I will stop after that so the others can speak. I told you already, that it is the government land. They are saying that it is ours. You worked on it and now you give it back to us. That’s what they are saying. This 60 acres that the malas are cultivating, they are telling them. “This is not your land, why are you tilling this? This is our kapus land”. Actually 40 acres of those belongs to ….. They are not coming here and they are not claiming their land. Twenty acres of land belongs to Laxmipeta Kapus and they are no longer staying there. Since those kapus are not there, these people are cultivating it. All these 250 acres, according to rules, according to their own G.Os, according to the law, according to SC judgement should belong to the malas in this village. We are not talking about 60 acres. We are talking about all that 250 acres. There is an adjacent village kottipa. The malas and madigas of that village also do not have any lands. Just like the malas of this village, the mala madigas of that village also do not have any lands. Now whoever died here, we will put the biggest share aside for them. People who are injured, a little less, people who are less injured, we will set aside another small share. For those of you who did not get hurt and saved your lives, you will get some share…after all this, there is still some more…there are 250 acres there. If proper assessment is carried out, I don’t know how many hundreds of such acres will come. They will come. All those should come to laxmipeta malas and kottipa malas and madigas. Until that we will not stop anywhere. No one else can claim any rights over this land. They will come here and they will say that we will give you land else where. The CM, he comes here and he says that he will give the land some where far off. But who told you to give the land some where far off. Give us this land. Your courts, your G.Os and rules are all telling you that. But you are saying you will give it somewhere as if you have a huge estate of your father lying vacant there. This is government’s land and you are just a representative of the government. That’s all. Nothing more. Kiran Kumar Reddy, you are just a representative of the government. Today, you are there and tomorrow another CM will come. That fellow may say I will do something else. No nothing doing. The land remains here. CMs can come and go. Chandra babu came and stayed for 9 years and left. YS Rajashekar Reddy came and he went up (died). Kiran kumar came, we don’t even know where he will go tomorrow. But the land remains there. It does not go anywhere. That is why we should take those 250 acres. Just the way how you have divided the 60 acres land, in the same way, the 250 acres have to be divided amongst you by starting a cooperative society. We will all live with that land. Until then, we will have to keep the fight on. Please do not feel bad if I said something wrong. I am not a big leader like shivaji, venkatrao, pentaiah, manda Krishna madiga but Tarakam is an old man and I am older than most of them in age. I therefore tell you that we will work jointly towards the success of this movement. Today I am there and tomorrow, you all are there. We may go tomorrow. I might just die tomorrow, who knows? So what are we to do now? Our aim is to get those vasu and avula and the other criminals to be arrested and put in jail. Next thing is that the government should immediately distribute the 250 acres to all the malas and madigas here. I also request you not to have opinion differences and carry out this fight jointly. Only then, these people (pointing at the photos of the murdered farmers on the stage) who lost their lives for their right for the land will get their due. We will fight until we get all the 250 acres and that will be a fitting tribute to those people. I hope that we will achieve that and I have confidence too. When the dalit movement started in Andhra Pradesh, that may be kanchikacherla, karamchedu, vemparti, chnundur wherever it is and whatever the movement it is, we never lost our battle anywhere and this will be no different and I am very confident about this. So the pledge that we have to take today to pay the respects for these five people and B.R.Ambedkar is to strive until all the persons responsible are arrested and the 250 acres have to be vacated and redistributed. This is the oath that we have to take. Jaihind.