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Telangana forest ranger attack: Ahead of Congress fact-finding probe, police detain leaders

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Telangana forest ranger attack: Ahead of Congress fact-finding probe, police detain leaders

Telangana Congress leaders from the Komaram Bheem district were awaiting the arrival of a party committee looking into the attack on a woman forest ranger in the district when they were taken into preventive custody in Sirpur Kaghaznagar town.

The controversy surrounding the attack on a woman forest ranger by Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) workers refuses to die. On Wednesday, the Telangana Police detained local Congress leaders who were protesting the incident.

On Monday, the Telangana Congress Legislature Party (CLP) had formed a five-member fact-finding committee to probe the Sunday incident where 34-year old Forest Range Officer C Anita was attacked by a group of people, allegedly led by ruling TRS MLA Koneru Konappa's brother Krishna.

Congress leaders from the Komaram Bheem district were awaiting the arrival of the fact-finding committee when they were taken into preventive custody in Sirpur Kaghaznagar town.

The Congress fact-finding team was constituted by CLP leader M Bhatti and is headed by MLA D Sridhar Babu. The committee is expected to submit a report on the assault within a week.

The brutal attack on the woman forest officer with huge bamboo sticks had led to massive outrage.

The victim, Anitha, said the mob, led by MLA Koneru Konappa's brother Krishna, did not spare her and other forest personnel though they pleaded not to be hit. She also said she never expected to be hit like this when in uniform.

Anitha, along with her staff and police, had gone to Sarasala village for plantation on land under a compensatory afforestation scheme for Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project when she was attacked by a mob led by the TRS MLA. Video footage of the attack showed Anitha climbing onto a tractor to escape from the attack by bamboo stick-wielding people.

She was seen pleading with them not to attack.

"Even animals are not thrashed this way," a visibly shaken Anitha told reporters later.

"...Krishna came [to the site] and pushed back police and started hitting [us]. They targeted me first and after hitting me, villagers started thrashing our officials. I was injured and our people took me back.

"Without even bothering that there are women, they hit us though we pleaded not to be hit. Even animals are not thrashed like this," she said.

Condemning the attack, forest personnel in Telangana demanded tough action against the perpetrators. Forest personnel held demonstrations at some places in protest against the attack on the woman forest official. Forest officials planted saplings at the site of the incident.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) too expressed concern and asked the state DGP to give a detailed report on the attack in connection with which police have arrested the MLA's brother and 13 others on charges, including attempt to murder.