Monday, February 26, 2024

Bojja Tarakam , a great promise for marginalized communities of the Telugu states.

Senior advocate and rights activist Bojja Tarakam died after brief illness here on Friday. He was 77. Bojja was suffering from brain tumor since 2007. Bojja is a rights activist and fought especially for the rights of Dalits and oppressed class. He argued Rohit Vemula’s social boycott at University of Hyderabad.

He was a well known poet, writer, social and political activist and a senior human rights advocate in India. He was senior public prosecutor Tsunduru massacre case in the Andhra Pradesh High Court. During an interview with Dalit Camera he said that the judgment in the Tsundur case was biased, illogical and casteist. The reasoning given by the high court is contrary to all principles of criminal jurisprudence and appreciation of evidence. The trial court which gave the first judgment had elaborately discussed the evidence, the entire evidence, and come to a conclusion which is unassailable. But unfortunately the high court, throwing all the norms and canons of justice to the winds, gave a very unscientific reasoning, which is unknown to criminal jurisprudence, and acquitted all the accused.

The reasoning according to the high court – one of the reasons is that the prosecution failed to fix the timings of the incident. At what time they received injuries was not established, according to the high court. Those are all immaterial things. We told the judge that these are all immaterial, and contradictions if any (if taken into account)..should not be trivial, should not be immaterial. Only material contradictions can be taken into consideration by the courts. But without any reference to the law, without reference to the evidence, without reference to the principles of criminal jurisprudence, the high court gave its judgment.

It wanted to give its judgment in its own way right from the beginning of the case (we heard). It wanted to acquit. That’s why right from the beginning – since how long can they wait in jails.. since how long can they languish in jails.. (that was the argument). That means the high court wanted to acquit them, release them from jail, without waiting for the arguments in the court. And ultimately, as it was planned, the high court acquitted all the accused.

That’s why we objected in the beginning itself, that the entire case has to be heard, including the case charged under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. If the case is heard in accordance with the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, it has to convict them under the Act. The high court did not want to convict them under the Act, therefore it wanted to separate the case (the charges under the Atrocities Act from the rest). There is nothing like separation of a criminal case. The whole case has to be heard together, with all the witnesses, with all the evidence gathered. There can’t be any separation of such cases. But it was separated, and the court heard it and acquitted them.

He was a great promise for marginalised communities of Telugu states. A lawyer, who roared against atrocities on Dalits, a leader, poet, orator, activist and a democratic partner of a great author Vijaya Bharathi. Son of another great leader and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar contemporary Bojja Appalaswamy. Bojja Tharakam was only one lawyer who asked Dalit victims who are facing rapes and killings everyday to retaliate against the perpetrators and assured that he will fight their cases and free them.



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