Telangana village decides to expel Gutti Koyas over FRO’s killing

A village in Telangana’s Bhadradri Kothagudem district on Saturday decided to expel Gutti Koya tribals allegedly involved in the recent murder of a Forest Range Officer (RFO).

Bendalapadu panchayat has passed a resolution at a gram sabha to send back all Gutti Koya tribals to Chhattisgarh.

FRO Srinivasa Rao (42) was hacked to death on November 22 when he tried to stop Gutti Koyas from removing saplings planted by the forest department on podu lands in the Chandrugonda forest area.

The police on November 23 arrested two persons in connection with the killing of the forest official — Madakam Tula and Podium Naga — both natives of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh.

They were arrested when they were trying to escape to Sukma. According to police, they had slept in the forest on the night after the deadly attack on the FRO and had reached the village in the morning to collect money to go to Sukma.

A day after the killing, forest personnel had demanded that the government drive out Gutti koya tribals from the state.

Alleging that Gutti Koyas infiltrated into Telangana from other states and encroached forest land, the Forest Range Officers’ Association and the Junior Forest Range Officers’ Association demanded that the government take immediate steps to drive them out.

Podu lands are the forest land under cultivation by tribals and non-tribal forest dwellers. There has been a rift between the cultivators and the forest department. In recent years, plantations undertaken by the forest department on such lands led to skirmishes between the two sides at various places in the state.

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