Janmabhoomi Committees Set Up Only To Torment The Poor?

Pavulavarigudem, West Godavari District: I began my padayatra this morning from Dwaraka Tirumala which is celebrated for being the abode of Chinna Venkanna.  The Dr. YSR Horticultural University here in the Gopalapuram  constituency, is a glowing symbol of the abiding love my father had for horticulture, for which this region is renowned.  For a moment, I was overwhelmed by the thought.

Short while later horticulture and lemon farmers of the region among others, met me and narrated the trying times through which they were going. Further down my padayatra, Hemalatha narrated her sorrowful experience to me. Her husband, akula Satyanarayana, a horticulturist suffered heavy losses in his farming activity. Unable to face the dificulties which came upon him suddenly, he sank into a depressed state and committed suicide in the orchard which was very dear to him. She added that even after selling the small bit of agricultural land which they had, she could not repay the debts which they had incurred. She became a daily wage labourer and forced her son to become a farmhand. Thus she was struggling to make both ends meet, she said as she sobbed. This TDP government has made it increasingly difficult for farmers to merely survive and get on with their day-to-day lives.

When thousands of women came to meet me at Pangidigudem and Gollagudem villages in blistering heat, I experienced mixed feelings. On the one hand, I felt happy when they told me that they braved the heat only to be able to see me or meet me. On the other, I felt pained at the thought that many of them had to forego their wages for the day and came to meet me in the sizzling summer heat along with their children.

I walked on with mixed emotions as grandold women with their backs bent and barely able to talk, came up to me to greet and bless me. They said that in me they saw a reflection of my father. Seeing these frail old women walking in the heat to come up to me and bless me lent strength to my resolve to serve the people with greater commitment.

Gangamma of Dorasanipadu had a heartwrenching experience to narrate. Her son, Nagaraju suffered from severe disability to the extent of 100%. For the sole reason that he had a picture of my father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy, the Janmabhoomi Committee members out of vindictiveness scrapped his pension. "We went aorund from pillar to post and pleaded with them to no avail," she said. Nagaraju committed suicide narrating the entire episode in his suicide note.

Another woman from Buttayigudem met me carrying her 18 year-old son, who was again a victim of total disability. The meager pension he received as also those received by widows, the elderly and other sections were reduced in the name of one tax or the other by the Janmabhoomi committee members in collusion with the local sarpanch. To torment the helpless poor in this manner is looting them with impunity.

My poser to the chief minister—Is it not true that Janmabhoomi committee members have emerged as extra-constitutional power centres? Can you deny that these committees exist only to exploit the helplessness of the poor and act vengefully to make their lives miserable?

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