Hyderabad, July 22: Soyam Bapu Rao, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Adilabad in Telangana sparked a controversy on Sunday by asking tribals to beat up forest officials if they plant saplings on their tribal lands. According to a tweet by ANI, Rao further added saying that if they come to plant saplings, stop them and uproot the plants and if needed beat the forest officials. "If Forest Department officials come to take over your Podu (form of shifting cultivation) lands and plant sapling, stop them. If needed beat up them and uproot the saplings which are planted by them, I will see what will happen", Rao said.
The statement comes amid the afforestation drive being carried out by forest department personnel in the state. The BJP MLA said this on July 20 while he went to attend an event to mark the death anniversary of tribal leader and Tudum Debba founder Siddam Shambu at Utnoor Mandal in the southern state. BJP MLA Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion Caught Brandishing Gun in Viral Video Expelled From Party for 6 Years.
Here's the Tweet:
Soyam Bapu Rao, BJP MP from Adilabad: If Forest Department officials come to take over your Podu (form of shifting cultivation) lands&plant sapling,stop them. If needed beat up them and uproot the saplings which are planted by them, I will see what will happen. (20/7) #Telangana pic.twitter.com/x2draBMejJ
— ANI (@ANI) July 22, 2019
During his address at the public gathering, Rao exhorted the Adivasis to physically attack forest officials and said people should fight against the government for their tribal rights and they need not worry about anything, as he will fight for their rights. "We were always fighting for our rights and there are also many cases pending on us. We should fight against the government for our tribal rights. Tribals no need to worry because I will fight for your rights," he added.
This is not the first time that Rao has raked up a controversy. Last month, the MP had warned Muslim youths of severe consequences if they continued with their alleged cheating and sexual exploitation of Adivasi women. According to reports, a case was booked against him in the issue.