Woman tehsildar burned alive in Telangana over suspected land dispute; assailant also suffers burns, taken into custody

  • The incident happened around 1.30 pm when K Suresh, a local who came to the office on a bike, poured petrol on her and set her alight using a lighter

  • According to preliminary information, he was involved in a land dispute and had approached the tehsildar over the matter, the commissioner said without elaborating

  • Some time after he entered the tehsildar's chamber, there were cries following which Vijaya's attender and driver rushed

Hyderabad: In a gruesome incident, a woman tehsildar in Telangana was allegedly burnt alive by a man in her office at Abdullapurmet in broad daylight on Monday over a land dispute, police and Revenue department officials said.

Tehsildar Vijaya Reddy, in her mid-30s, died on the spot and two other staff members, an attendant and a driver, were injured while trying to rescue her, Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh M Bhagwat said, adding the assailant also suffered burns in the attack that has caused shock waves in the state.

The man collapsed after running some distance away from the office in a bid to escape and he has been taken into custody and hospitalised in a serious condition. The shocking incident triggered protests by Revenue department employees across Telangana, while political leaders condemned it.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed deep sorrow over the death of the woman tehsildar. He spoke to police officials concerned after being informed of the incident, instructed them to book the culprit and take stringent action against him, according to an official release.

The incident happened around 1.30 pm when K Suresh, a local who came to the office on a bike, poured petrol on her and set her alight using a lighter. According to preliminary information, he was involved in a land dispute and had approached the tehsildar over the matter, the commissioner said without elaborating.

Some time after he entered the tehsildar's chamber, there were cries following which Vijaya's attender and driver rushed. "...but she came out and collapsed outside her chamber engulfed in flames. The driver and attender tried to extinguish the fire but the efforts were in vain. She died on the spot,” Bhagwat said.

The attender and the driver also suffered serious burns in the process and have been admitted to a hospital. The commissioner told reporters that this was first time that such an incident occurred in a government office in the state capital, adding that an investigation would be carried out into all aspects.

"The man is in our custody. He has suffered 50-60 percent burns," he added. The commissioner said police would ensure speedy investigation and the case will be tried in a fast track court and the accused gets the capital punishment as this was a murder and attempt to murder case.

Suresh told police he is a farmer and also into real estate and co-owned 7 acres of agricultural land with his brother. The land was transferred to a tenant and a dispute had arisen over it and a litigation was in the high court.

He further claimed that injustice was meted out to him in the land issue, an investigating official said. Asked about reports that the accused had faced problems in setting right his land records, the official said they could not confirm it as Suresh was undergoing treatment.

Reddy, a 2009 group-II officer, is survived by husband and two children.

According to an eye-witness, a loud sound was heard following which some staff rushed to the tehsildar's chamber and saw her running out engulfed in flames. "We heard a loud sound from Madam's chamber and ran towards it and saw madam in flames. We tried to save her," the eye-witness said.

The incident led to chaos in the tehsildar office, thronged by the public and scores of shocked revenue employees later staged a protest seeking justice while the body of the tehsildar was being taken to hospital for post-mortem. Condemning the brutal killing of the tehsildar, Telangana director general of police M Mahendar Reddy vowed to bring the culprit to book.

"Such a barbaric act in a civilised society is totally unacceptable. We shall bring the culprit to book and ensure that the severest of punishment is awarded at the earliest. Justice will be rendered to victim and her family members, the DGP tweeted. Telangana education minister P Sabita Indra Reddy and senior police officials reached the spot.

The minister said the motive for the attack was yet to be ascertained as the assailant was also injured and currently undergoing treatment in a hospital.

"If there is any grievance people should approach appropriate authorities. Officials also work for the welfare of the people only. They (people) should not resort to heinous acts. This is not the correct way," Sabita Reddy said.

Congress MP from Bhongir constituency Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, who also visited the office after the incident, alleged discrepancies in land passbooks were being witnessed in the state. Several Telangana Ministers, including IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao, and leaders cutting across political lines condemned the incident.

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Updated Date: Nov 05, 2019 07:18:40 IST