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Minister’s misdeeds invite locals’ wrath in Telangana

Posted May 8th, 2021, 10:58 AM IST

Minister’s misdeeds invite locals’ wrath in Telangana

It seems nothing can stop Telangana labour minister Ch Malla Reddy from encroaching public properties. Neither the Supreme Court directives, High Court’s stay orders nor his own government’s rules come in the way of his misdeeds, if certain recent developments are of any indication.

If some of his moves are allegedly aimed at making monetary benefits, some others are said to be to retain power by impressing electorate including forcible construction of a place of religious worship in a public park in Annojiguda, Ghatkesar, on the city outskirts.

Victims of the minister’s misdemeanour are inmates of a school run for orphans and underprivileged children besides the residents of the area who are deprived of a lung space. Needless to say, the local municipal, revenue and police officials maintain stoic silence over the gross violation of court directives by the minister and his followers.

Inquiries by this newspaper revealed that when efforts were made to build a temple in the public park in about 150 sq yds, the Jesus Way School, run by Joint Christian Action Committee (JCAC), obtained a stay order against the construction from the High Court in 2013. “We are not against any religion. There are already several temples in the vicinity, and we have only been requesting the minister’s followers to spare the lung space, which is increasingly becoming scarce in this concrete jungle,” said Anita Sen of JCAC.

After some lull, the construction resumed after Malla Reddy became MLA in 2018. Despite obtaining the stay order from the High Court and even initiating contempt proceedings, the construction went unobstructed and the area of encroachment spread to 1,000 sq yds, she said.

It must be recalled that in December 2012, the then state government had put curbs on building places of worship without the permission of district collectors, especially in rural areas. In a 2009 order, the Supreme Court had also asked the Centre to ensure that no temple, church, mosque or gurudwara was built illegally on government land.

The school management accused the Minister of visiting the school with scores of his followers, intimidating the staff and pressurising them not to object to the construction of the temple. "When we refused to give a 'no objection' statement, Malla Reddy was furious and threatened us with grave consequences. His aides even criminally trespassed our school premises to threaten us”, said Bishop Mathew, who runs the school along with the JCAC.

When this correspondent sought clarification from Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat and local Inspector N Chandrababu, both of whom received several complaints in the past, the former refused to speak about the case while the latter said it was sub-judice. Tehsildar P. Padma Priya also refused to respond to the queries.

When contacted, the minister said a compromise had been worked out between the school management and Kondal Reddy, the Pocharam GHMC Chairman and his aides building the temple. “I have told both the parties not to interfere with each other," he said and dismissed allegations of intimidating the school authorities.