Memorial meeting for late civil liberties activist Japa Lakshma Reddy

Japa Lakshma Reddy

Paying homage to stalwart and martyr of Civil Liberties Movement, Japa Lakshma Reddy, a public meeting under the supervision of Civil Rights Association Joint Karimnagar District Committee, was held on Monday, 7th November, 2022, at Sneha Sahiti Library, Godavarikhani from 4:30 pm to 8:15 pm. Civil rights society and people’s association leaders obeyed two minutes of silence to Japa Lakshma Reddy. Lakshma Reddy at ge of 65  was assassinated in a false encounter by police on 7th November 1986 on false pretext of committing murder .Morally it commemorated his birth centenary last year and his 35th death anniversary in 2020.Recentl we also commemorate the 20th death anniversary of T,Purushotam and 20th of Prabhakar Reddy.

Democrats and intellectuals are being mercilessly hunted down by jailing UAPA cases. On the occasion of paying tribute to Japa Lakshma Reddy, the leaders of civil rights public associations pledged that they would intensify their commitment for the rights that are being snatched day by day. In the last decade the Civil Liberties committee with death defying courage have exposed atrocities unleashed by Operation Green hunt. through consistent fact-finding. Withstanding the tormenting of the state it has fluttered the flag of justice. Today the neo-fascist BJP is strengthening it’s fangs to wipe out all possible dissent, which makes such task all the more imperative. We need to resurrect spirit of civil liberties martyrs in an hour when the constitution is being defaced to destroy any sanctity of democracy and political activists framed and placed at mercy of barbaric treatment behind prison walls.

Japa Lakshma Reddy was born in Alugunur village of Karimnagar district in 1921 He participated in the Telangana Armed Struggle and then served in   the  Communist Party of India (CPI) from 1950 to 1959 as an executive committee member for nine years. From 1964 he joined the C.P.I (M) as a senior leader. Japa actively worked as Sarpanch of Alugugugunur for 15 years, steering the farmers on current issues and water cultivation problems. The upsurge of 1967 Naxalbari, 1969 Srikakulam Adivasi struggles carved the path of the leftist democratic movements in Telangana after 1970.. Japa Lakshma Reddy exhibited the courage of a soldier in protesting encounter killings began in the state in the early 1970s. In 1974 he was inducted into the civil liberties Committee. Japa was one of the architects of the birth of the civil rights movement. Naxalbari did not bring an immediate supporter within him. For 15 years he undertook responsibility of sarpanch for his village. He served posts as both president and secretary of the Civil Liberties Committee.

In 1978 some areas of Karimnagar district were classified by the government as conflict zones. From 1984 police launched mounting attacks in villages harbouring naxalite sympathisers.APCLC exposed police lawlessness to the very core. The police were awarded excessive power to unleash tyranny. At that juncture, with unflinching commitment he undertook the responsibility of building a civil rights movement in that district. Many young lawyers and teachers threw their lot with the civil rights movement being influenced by Lakshma Reddy. Reddy was a first hand witness in civil rights activists being hounded. Fearing detention, he evaded surveillance and stayed away from the organisation. Even if the police intimidated people from revealing the truth on encounters, Lakshma Reddy instilled courage in people to bring truth to the book. No matter how grave the threat of detention Lakshma Reddy would propel democratic forces to publish details in newspapers, to save lives of those framed with false charges. Treading the darkest waters Laxma Reddy would garner people into staging retaliatory protests against police atrocities, meticulously uniting the scattered seeds into a cohesive force to form a unit of the APCLC in his area. From depths of despair he would revive morale of the people to illuminate resolve to battle oppression. His work played an instrumental role in confronting and checking Police repression at unprecedented scale.Laxma Reddy’s martyrdom inspired new lotuses to blossom to extricate the poisonous weeds. For a prolonged period encompassing 2 decades Japa was cometh the hour, cometh the man, when civil liberties were infringed.

On 7th November in 1986, policeman in plainclothes barged into Laxma Reddys’s house, called him out and shot him dead on the very spot. The state govt leader Vasant  Nageswara Rao  shielded the police  claiming that the extremists undertook responsibility for killing. Newspaper Andhra Jyoti named the guilty policemen. It is ironic and self –contradictory that an organisation labelled “extremists front organisation ‘would dispose a person branded as an ‘extremist. ‘The action by police was conducted as a retaliatory action on behest of the killing of a DSP at the hands of the squads of the Peoples War Group.

Chief Minister NT Ramarao Telugu Desam government did not make te slightest move to restrain the Rajakars and Telangana repression. Laxma Reddy’s assassination was manifestation o the neo-fascist nature of repression prevailing in that time, to mercilessly crush the resistance of tribals and farmers and silence all dissent. NTR got literally gave a licence to the police to eliminate civil rights activists. The left adventurist actions of the erstwhile CPI (ML) Peoples War group, invited such merciless repression on democrats, whatever progressive groundwork it undertook in organising people. I recommend everyone to read the tribute of late K Balagopal in Economic and Political weekly of December 1986, where he gives a most illustrative account of Laxma Reddy’s life.

Till 1985-2001, Telugu Desam Party Chief Minister NT Ramarao, Congress Chief Minister Nedurumilli Janardhan Reddy, Telugu Desam Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu patronised gangs to undertake fascist murders of activists, in cold blood.

  1. Gopi Rajanna (12-1-1985-Karimnagar),
  2. Doctor Ramanadham, (3-9-1985- Warangal)
  3. Japa Lakshma Reddy (7-11-1986- Karimnagar)
  4. Narra Prabhakar Reddy (7-12-1991-Warangal).
  5. Purushottam (23-11-2000 Hyderabad),
  6. Azam Ali (18-2-2001 Nalgonda).

The Civil Rights Society (APCLC) had lost six civil rights community leaders and continued to operate facing wrath of the state at it’s optimum.

I recommend reading of the Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi; statement on the murder in November, 1986, which in most balanced manner condemns state repression and extremist violence undertaken by armed squads.

In the country in 2014, in the state of Telangana, by breaking the promises given during the KCR movement, Singareni areas were being freely expanded and transformed into Bondala lands. The state is robbing people of their rights, by forcefully snatching away 2.5 lakh acres of agricultural lands from farmers. KCR has done injustice with GO 123 by not implementing 2013 land collection act to the people of Kaleshwaram, Mallanna Sagar, Nalgonda Charlagudem projects. Inspite of  NTPC, RFCL, Singareni’s lack of employment opportunities in Ramagundam coal belt area, youth committing suicide due to unemployment, in the name of permanent jobs in RFCL, TRS leader extorted 50 crores bribes from 1200 unemployed youths who  were stripped from their duties.. BJP Modi has been selling government sector institutions cheaply to Adani Ambani implementing anti-labour policies since 2014, for the purpose of plundering resources, multinational companies in Adivasi areas, and making tribals expatriates at large. Farmer suicide cases are looming.

The participants of the event were Civil rights association Telangana leaders N. Narayana Rao, Madanakumaraswamy, Civil Rights Association joint Karimnagar district leaders Sripathi Rajagopal, Pullasucharitha, Boddupelli Ravi, Bandari Rayalingu, Civil Rights Society joint Adilabad district leaders Buddesatyam, Jadi Pocham, Ayindala Sarayya, Civil Rights Association Krishna Jana District leaders GAV Prasad, CPI ML New Democracy- IFTU leaders, I. Krishna, Virasam Balasani Rajayya, AIFTU leaders K Ramulu, Sneha Sahithi Library Organizer Poet Writer Eleswaram Venkateswarlu, Telangana People’s Front PeddaPelli District Leaders Gandla Komurayya, Telangana Farmers Problems Achievement Committee Mudimadugula Mallanna, Environmental Protection Coal belt social activists Nagalakshmi, Singareni labor leaders, poet writer, Mohammed, Singareni labour leader Rajab Ali, unorganized sector leaders Jaipal, Devi Satyam,Praja Kalamandali artist Adepusammayya, human rights-social leader Ranjit, people’s association leaders Ponnam Rayamallu, Lata Shankar, KNPS leader Buram Abhinav, Dalit Liberation Front leader Marvadi Sudarshan, Ramillabapu, Senior Journalist Madasi Ramamurthy, Musivethaka Ramagundam fertilizer factory workers Rajeswara .

Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who has covered mass movements around India and was an activist of the civil liberties movement

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