Asifabad (Telangana): A couple of days after some of their colleagues were attacked, allegedly by TRS workers, 400 officials from the forest department and police department began an afforestation drive in Komaram Bheem’s Sirpur Kagaznagar block in Asifabad.

Protesting against the attack, forest department personnel, including FROs, district forest officers and forest beat guards from the neighbouring districts of Adilabad, Mancherial, Warangal, Sircilla, Karimnagar, and Peddapalli, joined their counterparts in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district to plant saplings. The forest officials were accompanied by over 200 police personnel.

“The field and surrounding area belong to the government. No one can prevent the forest department from taking up afforestation there,” Asifabad District Collector Rajiv Gandhi Hanamanthu was quoted as saying.

It must be noted that Forest Range Officer (FRO) C Anitha was assaulted by a group, allegedly including TRS MLA Koneru Konappa’s brother Koneru Krishna Rao, during a plantation drive here on June 29.

The FRO, who suffered a hairline fracture on her wrist, has been shifted to the Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad. “I was scared and shocked at the violence unleashed on me and my colleagues. My head and hands, which are swollen, still hurt. I should be fine in a couple of days, and I want to join duty as soon as possible,” she told a leading daily.

Anita and other forest officials were assaulted when they went to Sarasala village, which falls under MLA Konappa’s Sirpur constituency, to plant saplings on a reserve forest land identified on the outskirts of the village, as part of the Telangana government’s ‘Haritha Haaram’ plantation drive. Some villagers claimed it was their land and attacked them. When Rao heard of the development, he reportedly turned up with his supporters.