Dalit group attacks newspaper office in Hyderabad

May 26th, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Activists of a Dalit organization Monday attacked offices of a Telugu daily here and in other major towns in Andhra Pradesh. A group of about 30 activists of Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti (MPRS) attacked the office of Andhra Jyothi in the upmarket Jubliee Hills. The attackers, who came in two vehicles, ransacked the office and tried to set it afire.

They were protesting against an article published in Monday’s edition of the newspaper.

According to witnesses, the attackers damaged a few vehicles in the office premises, threw stones damaging the office windows. They also threw petrol bombs and tried to set fire to the office.

The attack took place despite the deployment of policemen at the office. The management of the newspaper had sought police protection after receiving threats from MRPS leaders.

The newspaper management alleged that four policemen, who were deployed at the office, had left a few minutes before the attack.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner B. Prasad Rao, who visited the office, confirmed that the attackers were MRPS activists. He told newsmen that he had ordered an inquiry whether the cops deployed at the office failed to prevent the attack.

MRPS activists also tried to attack the newspaper’s offices in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Warangal and other towns. The police, however, foiled the attacks.

MRPS leader Manda Krishna Madiga defended the attack on Andhra Jyothi offices, saying he would not tolerate anybody trying to “suppress Dalit movement”. He also demanded an apology from the newspaper for insulting Dalit leaders.

The article published in Monday’s issue stated that some leaders were serving the interests of the ruling Congress party in the name of rights of the Scheduled Castes.

The state government has condemned the attack. Minister for Information and Public Relations Anam Ramnarayan Reddy said the government stood for the freedom of press and it strongly condemns such attacks.

The Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) has also condemned the attack.

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