A lakshman rekha of sorts has been drawn after the gruesome murder of Tahsildar Vijaya Reddy in Abdullapurmet in Telangana this week. The official was set ablaze by a disgruntled citizen who was reportedly angry with her for not helping settle a land dispute.
Uma Maheswari, a Tahsildar working at Pathikonda Mandal Revenue office in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh strung a rope across her office to prevent public from gaining entry close to her table. She did this on Tuesday, a day after Vijaya Reddy was killed. While the visitors could interact with the official by sitting on the benches that are placed, the rope was to act as a physical barrier of sorts, to prevent them from getting any closer.
Uma Maheswari explained her decision saying people often barged into her office, putting pressure on her to clear their requests by standing close in an intimidatory manner. She said she felt vulnerable after what happened to Vijaya Reddy. In Abdullapurmet, even the CCTVs inside Vijaya Reddy’s office were not working, not to speak about the lack of security at Mandal Revenue offices in either Telangana or Andhra Pradesh. At protest demonstrations by revenue staff, the consensus is that the workplace threat is very real.
While Uma Maheswari had instructed even her juniors to maintain a safe distance from petitioners, following instructions from her bosses, she had to do away with the rope. This also followed sarcastic comments over social media that wondered if she had indulged in corrupt practises, to be scared of the public.