BJP MP from Telangana's Adilabad, Soyam Bapu Rao has asked tribals to stop forest officials from planting saplings on their lands, uproot the plants and if needed beat the forest officials.
Rao's made this controversial remark nearly a month after a woman forest officer in Telangana was assaulted during a plantation drive.
"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," Bapu Rao said while addressing the people of his constituency.
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
"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.
He made this statement at the event which was organised to mark the death anniversary of tribal leader and Tudum Dedda founder Siddam Shambu at Utnoor Mandal. Rao stirred the controversy amid the afforestation drive being carried out by forest department personnel in the state.
Soyam Bapu Rao is the representative of Adilabad constituency in Lok Sabha as he won the 2019 Lok Sabha election on BJP's ticket.
He had also won in 2004 assembly elections from Boath seat on TRS ticket and had later joined the Congress.
When the Congress declared Ramesh Rathod as its candidate for Adilabad Lok Sabha in 2019 election, Rao joined the BJP and won the seat.
(With inputs from ANI)