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A Tahsildar’s Murder In Hyderabad Is Telling Of The Rot In Our Bureaucracy

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Vijaya Reddy’s office. Source: TheNewsMinute

We live in a state that has been ranked the second-‘best‘ city for corruption—Hyderabad. Various news sources reported that on November 4, a Monday, at around 1:20 PM in the afternoon, a man identified as Suresh, a farmer-cum-real estate businessman, entered the chamber of Vijaya Reddy, a Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO), torched her mercilessly with fire over a land dispute argument. While hearing the loud commotion as the officer, succumbing to serious injuries, was screaming out for help, her driver Gurunatham and employee Chandraiah rushed to save her but were both severely injured. The three of them including Suresh were shifted to different medical institutions but Vijaya Reddy died on the spot.

Nowadays in the streets of Hyderabad, I have noticed that it has become common for people to get murdered over disputes of land, money, personal, or financial loss. On the other hand, it is found that the duties of the Telangana Police officers are limited to only issuing challans (fines) for reckless driving or not wearing a helmet. Well, most of the time, half of the police force is commissioned to either control the congested traffic and register the cases of careless or drunkard drivers and when it comes to safety, awareness, and education of pressing crimes, not a single one of the governing bodies are seriously looking into these matters.

When we look five years back, a sudden bomb explosion in Hyderabad saw an immediate response from mobilised troops of military, policemen, and investigation agencies to ensure the safety of residents by the orders of the then chief minister. The implementation of proactive plans to combat against terrorists on the ground was proposed and the council meetings chaired by the chief ministers, cabinet ministers, and a few politicians decided the fate of the city to avoid further predecessor attacks such as Gokul Chat and Mecca Masjid bomb blasts.

In the coming days, for the sake of more public awareness and their convenience, high-pitched mikes were installed at the nearest bus stops, railway stations, and at every corner of the traffic signals from where recordings of non-stop buzzing audio clips were played to caution the people to report any unusual activities to nearby police stations.

First, let us understand the motive and circumstances of the murderer for committing this serious offense. Undoubtedly there are many questions that one should be asking the authority as to how an outsider can enter the MRO premises. How did this all happen in broad daylight when a lot of visitors and security personnel were present to maintain tight security, and how the security guard could not verify that the individual was carrying a petrol bottle in his hands.

It is sad to know that Gurunatharam who sustained 80% burns died on November 5 at Apollo DRDO Hospital. In the meantime, the prime accused Suresh was undergoing medical treatment at Osmania Hospital, but he has also succumbed to his injuries. The police officials had stated in their investigation report that due to the explosive fire coming in contact with the A.C. duct, the fire had spread out to Suresh and two others.

A Brief Family Background Of Tahsildar Vijaya Ready

Vijaya Reddy who hailed from Nagole, in Ranga Reddy district was recently appointed as the Regional Mandal Officer (MRO) and was honored to receive the ‘best Mandal officer’ award in the year 2018. Earlier, she was a government teacher but soon after quitting the job she decided to prepare for MRO exams and nailed it. Her husband, Subhash Reddy is a Botany lecturer at Himmayat Nagar college. They both have two children, a ten-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son studying at primary school.

As of now, the last rites of Mandal officer Vijaya Reddy were conducted in her hometown Nalgole and many, including family, relatives, friends, and colleagues, attended her funeral procession. After that, hundreds of MRO officers protested against the state government’s negligence towards not fully committed to deploying security guards for their protection.

Image Source: TheNewsMinute

They also protested against the chief minister of Telangana KCR for apparently making controversial statements questioning the Mandal officers’ credibility, saying that they are all corrupt in a public gathering. In relation to this supposed publicity stunt, which they believed might have caused restlessness in the atmosphere and resulted in the death of a respected and honored sincere officer, the mass protest and boycott of work continued for three days. They said that it would continue unless and until the chief minister publicly apologised for his remarks, as asserted by the grieved employees.

There are lakhs and crores of property cases pending in the revenue department when any landowner or proprietor risks the rounds of touring municipal regional offices. They get frustrated while listening to the long-awaited reasons of the departmental head for not clearing or settling their property matters. People are irritated with the slow functioning of government departments, especially when one particular file roams everywhere.

Although we cannot say that the entire fault is within the system, one of the very dedicated and hardworking public servants, Vijaya Reddy was doing her routine work on that particular Monday, considered to the busiest day, when all of a sudden a farmer raged in anger and poured petrol and burnt her alive.

For sure, our condolence would always remain with her family. In regards to her murder, we must ask a straightforward question, that how a public servant, who works for their people first and the country next, gets killed in the daytime. This brings us to questioning again and again how the government has been failing to protect their own, and how they can claim to ensure the security of the civilians.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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