Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA Koneru Kannappa’s brother Koneru Krishna Rao has been arrested for attacking a female forest ranger. He has been booked under various sections of the IPC, according to Superintendent of Police Malla Reddy, India Today reported. He allegedly attacked Forest Range Officer C Anitha at Sarasala village in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district over a land dispute on Sunday. The incident has been captured in a video that went viral, showing 32-year-old Anitha climbing a tractor to escape and Krishna and other villagers attacking the vehicle. An unidentified man is then seen hitting Anitha.

“We have arrested him and Bora Posham (seen in the video) who beat up the FRO with sticks and also 14 villagers who participated in the attack. We have booked them under unbailable sections of the IPC,” Indian Express quoted Reddy saying.

A forest department official said that Anitha has been provided with medical help to recover from a hairline fracture. They said that Anitha had gone to the village to plant saplings under the ‘Haritha Haram’ green initiative program started by the state government when some people, led by Krishna, attacked them with bamboo poles, claiming that the land belonged to them.

We have registered cases against Krishna and arrested him. The presence of the leaders emboldened the villagers to attack, Malla Reddy told PTI.

Anitha spoke to reporters at the hospital and said Krishna initiated the attack by first hitting her with a bamboo stick, then others in the group followed him and started attacking the vehicle to stop them.

“I was singled out by four-five men, including Krishna Rao, and beaten up with sticks. It was a vicious attack, I got very scared,” she told The Indian Express.

Telangana Principal Chief Conservator of Forest P K Jha noted that the land where the officials went belonged to the forest department and the MLA was also informed about it.

He said the department would take up this issue seriously at a higher level. It was forest land.

“I was given to understand that earlier there were some attempts to encroach it. That time our people got them vacated. It was totally under our control. There is no cultivation. His (MLA’s) brother was there (during the attack),” Jha told PTI.

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“I was singled out by four-five men, including Krishna Rao, and beaten up with sticks. It was a vicious attack, I got very scared”

Divisional Forest Officer (Komaram Bheem Asifabad) Laxman Naik said, “Without even asking why forest officials were there, the villagers and Krishna Rao launched a brutal assault on them. Without even considering that the FRO is a woman, the men armed with stick and rods surrounded her and beat her up. The officials had gone there to plant saplings on forest land, it is government land.”

TRS Working president KT Rama Rao condemned the attack and said no one was above the law even as opposition Congress and BJP slammed the K Chandrasekhar Rao government.

“I strongly condemn the atrocious behavior of Koneru Krishna who attacked a forest officer who was doing her job. He has been arrested and a case booked already; no one is above the law of the land,” Rao tweeted.

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Picture credit- Indian Express

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