A Round Table Conference on Justice in Mariyamma Lock-up Death was held at Press Club, Somajiguda on 11th July 2021(Sunday) from 2.00 p.m. onwards.
Though Mariyamma was brutally killed in police lock-up on 18th June 2021, none was arrested as on 11th July 2021. So far, the criminal justice system has not moved swiftly, the way it should, in the case of lock-up death of Mariyamma. Despite the fact that she was murdered by torture, the culprits were not arrested nor an FIR against them lodged even after 3 weeks, in stark contrast to what would be done if a murder is committed by an ordinary person. In this connection, concerned persons felt that a Round Table Conference be called for to take stock of the situation and decide on further course of action. Accordingly, a letter of request signed by Akunuri Murali, IAS Retd., Jhansi Geddam, Dalit Sthree Sakthi, Prof. Surepalli Sujatha Dr M.F. Gopinath, Prominent Cardiologist, K. Vijayalakshmi, Lecturer was sent to all concerned individuals and organizations to attend a Round Table Conference on 11th July 2021. Invitation to all newspapers/channels was also sent to attend the Round Table Conference. A press note also was given the previous day. There was overwhelming response and about 115 persons participated in the Round Table Conference, representing various organizations and in their individual capacity. All newspapers sent their representatives to cover the event. Apart from the organisers, other noted individuals/organizations among the participants are: G. Shanker, a senior most leader of welfare associations; AV. Kiran, National Secretary, Indian Labour Union, M. Ramdas, District Judge, Retired; Nimma Narayana, District Judge, Retired; B. Lakshmaiah, KANPS; P. Shanker, DBF; D. Rajitha, Lecturer; Sandhya, POW; Devi, Women Activist; AddankiDayakar, Bellayya Naik, LHPS;Anjaneyulu, Voice of Dalit Collective; Gnaneswar; Venkata Reddy, VDC; Munna, and Gopi Swamy, HCU; Nityanand, AIDRF; Khalid Parveen, Narsinga Rao, ASPC; PV Ramana, ST Employees Association; K. Ramulu, Ex-NCSC member and others.
Jhansi Geddam: The Round Table Conference was chaired by Jhansi Geddam, National Convener, DSS. She first explained the purpose of calling this meeting and the need for everyone to unite and chalk out a concerted action for justice.
First, Jhansi Geddam explained the background facts and further developments of the case.She explained how Ms.Ambadipudi Mariyamma, along with her son Udaya Kiran
and his friend Sanker were arrested and brutally tortured in Chintakani and Addagudur police stations from 16th June 2021 to 18th June 2021 till her death. All the time Ms. Swapna, the younger daughter of Mariyamma was at the police station and she cried and pleaded the police not to torture her mother and brother. Jhansi Geddam explained how the entire episode all the laws and constitution, NHRC guidelines, SCST (PoA) Act were violated. Though the CM responded to the lock-up death by granting ex-gratia, so far the accused SI and constables are not arrested. FIR is not given and is not available on website and no one knows which sections are mentioned in the FIR and whether the case is booked under SC,ST (PoA) Act. She pointed out all the time we are only responding to the agenda set by the ruling elite and are unable to stop all the atrocities. Now we are at Mariyamma issue and shortly we will be leaving this and take up another issue. Thus, we are following the agenda set by them. We should come out of this vicious circle of responding to the agenda set by the ruling elite. She explained the need for everyone to reflect on the issue and suggest program of action.
Akunuri Murali, IAS, Retd.: He outlined how inhuman and illegal activities took place in the events leading to the death of Ms. Mariyamma.He expressed dismay at the way Chintakani police station which belongs to one district was totally handed over to the police of Addagudur which belongs to another district.
He wondered, how a meek, slender woman like Mariyamma could be brutally beaten all the night. What was the pitiable situation of Swapna, her daughter who was fated to watch her mother and brother being beaten brutally all the night?After the incident, DGP visited the victims, judge visited them and all the facts of torture were narrated to them, but so far, the culprits are not arrested. The police are behaving as if it is not lock-up death, then why the CM gave relief? The steps according to law are not being taken because the victim woman is a dalit woman. If it were a woman of upper castes, this type of negligence would not have been there. He further lamented at the inaction of people in demanding justice. He summed up the need for everyone to unite and utilize all legal provision to see that the culprits are punished for the crime they committed.
Dr. M.F. Gopinath,pointed out the murder of Mariyamma and other atrocities earlier to this, from karamchedu, Tsundur to recent Pranay murder.He feltthat atrocities on Dalits are recurring and continuous.He recollected the remarks of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar long back when he
raised the issue of implementation mechanism of Constitution and the laws. Police brutally tortured and killed Mariyamma to which her son and daughter are witnesses. Why the SI and police are not arrested? Is there any separate constitution and law for the police? When Disha was raped and murdered, the culprits were killed in an encounter, why now the SI and constables are encountered? What does this show? There are two streams of legal systems, one for the dominant castes which works and another for oppressed castes which doesn’t work. What is happening at the macro level is the exploiting class setting us an agenda. A woman is raped and we go around protesting it for a while and then another murder takes place and again we go around it and this cycle keeps going on. Are we to be enchained this type of agenda forever? Shouldn’t we change our agenda? It’s not just arrest or booking the case, but we should have an agenda to see that the Act is implemented and the culprits go to jail. Until then we should not rest. Then only we can teach a lesson to the Government.
Surepalli Sujatha,pointed out that no action is being taken on atrocities committed on Dalits in various incidents and the larger society is also not responding when Dalits are murdered. Women Commission has not reacted so far to the murder of Mariyamma. She demanded a separate women commission for taking care of dalit women because the oppression on dalit women is systemic. She narrated all the violations that took place in the lock-up death of Mariyamma and condemned the inaction in not arresting the accused police so far.
Bandaru Lakshmaiah, KANPSnarrated all the instances of various police atrocities on Dalits. He pointed out that during last few years of formation of Telangana State the atrocities on Dalits have increased and no action was taken in any of the instances. He opined that even now the Chief Minister responded keeping in view the forthcoming byelection to Huzurabad constituency. He called for joint action and sensitizing the people not to vote for TRS in the upcoming Huzurabad elections until justice is done in the case of Mariyamma lock-up death. He called for forming a united front for further action and he appealed for joint action to see that the culprits are punished in all cases of atrocities on Dalits.
Ramulu, former member of NCSC, recollected how strong the dalit movement was earlier during the time when senior leaders Nagaiah, Bojja Tharakam and others along with him used
to protest against atrocities, conducted dharnas. During those days when they conducted dharna the CM and others used to come there and take representation from them. He lamented that such a powerful dalit movement is not there now and he reminded the need to build up such a mass movement again. He explained the police behavior and condemned how they violated constitution and rights in torturing Mariyamma and her son. He suggested that we should approach the NCSC.
Sandhya,PoW, In a number of atrocities of murder etc. the people around, the elders in the locality compromise the case and pressurize the victims to settle for an amount and drop the case. In Mariyamma lock-up death case, the state also behaved in the same way.The CM also granted ex-gratia and wants to close the case without arrest and prosecution of the culprits. We should take this as model case and consistently fight till justice is achieved.
Shanker, National Secretary, SC,ST Welfare Association: He called for concrete programme of publishing pamphlets, booklet, organizing dharnas, mobilizing the support of IAS/IPS officers, press etc.
Ramdas, Retired District Judge, questioned why the police have not registered FIR against the SI and others and called for action to see that the case is registered.He recollected how
Sri. Bojja Tarakam filed private complaint in Karamchedu case and felt that it is an alternative.
Nimma Narayana, Retired District Judge, lamented that the Constitution and SC,ST(PoA) Act is not being implemented and called for unity. He said while the dominant castes have one united organization, Dalits are divided into innumerable organizations and called for one umbrella for all Dalits.
Vijayalakshmi, Lecturer, Women’s College, Khammam, pointed out that there are few human rights defenders who are frontline warriors and they are continually fighting for the rights of Dalits, dalit women and children. Every one of us should firmly stand behind these frontline warriors and support them.
The Round Table Conference continued up to 6.30 p.m. and everyone present spoke about the blatant violations of law in the lock-up death and the inaction of the government in not arresting the accused. All participants spoke about the need for unity and continued action till the logical end.
All the participant organizations/individuals unanimously adopted the following resolutions and plan of action:
It is resolved to constitute the members present into a “Social Democratic Forum”.
Further resolved that democratic minded people and Dalits should not vote to Telangana Rashtra Samithi until the accused police were arrested, prosecuted and convicted under SC, ST (PoA) Actin all the following cases of torture and atrocities:
Mariyamma Lock-up death in June 2021.
Banappa lock-up death in East Maredpalli police station in 2015.
Bougutta Padma lock-up death in Asif Nagar police station in 2015.
Ram lock-up death in Begum Pet police station in 2015.
Venkatesh lock-up death in Ellareddy Guda police station in 2018.
Seelam Rangaiah lock-up death in Peddapalli police station.
Torture of 8 persons in Nerella village of Siricilla district.
Plan of Action:
Social Democratic Front should continue to fight until justice is done in Mariyamma lock-up death case.
A pamphlet and a booklet should be published on Mariyamma lock-up death.
The non-dalit and elite sections of the society should be drawn into the struggle.
One day Dharna should be conducted near Ambedkar statues of all town and district headquarters.
Retired and working IAS & IPS officers should be involved in this forum.
Efforts should be put to see that this issue is raised in the Parliament.
Movement should be kept alive.
Those of the persons in the movement who work for long term should be identified.