In a stunning incident, a woman Tahsildar working in the Abdullapurmet Tahsil office in Hayathnagar of Ranga Reddy district of Telangana was set ablaze by a farmer on Monday afternoon during the lunch recess.
Two other employees in the office and the farmer himself also sustained severe burns, and have been admitted to a hospital.
Speaking to mediapersons in the evening, Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat said that they suspected that the accused, Koora Suresh of Gowrelli village, had resorted to the gory crime on Tahsildar Vijaya Reddy over a land dispute.
The CP said that the accused owned seven acres of land in Bacharam village, and that the plot was under litigation, with a case pending in the High Court. Suresh went to the Tahsildar office on Monday afternoon at around 1:20 pm with an intention to murder the Tahsildar. He entered the Tahsildar's chamber and spoke to her for half-an-hour. He then executed his plan by pouring kerosene on her and setting her aflame. Suresh also suffered 60% burns.
"After speaking with Reddy for a few minutes, Suresh doused her in fuel and set her ablaze before walking out. Two of the employees - an attender and the driver of the officer - rushed inside and tried to save her. However, she ran onto the verandah in the building and collapsed before dying on the spot," said the Commissioner.
He said that Suresh was spotted near the Hayathnagar police station with burn injuries on his hands, and when questioned by the police, said that injustice had been meted out to him in a land issue.
Soon after the incident, revenue department employees gathered in large numbers at the Tahsildar office and staged a protest demanding stringent action. They also demanded protection to the Tahsildar office.
Senior officials of the revenue department also visited the spot. Revenue Minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy condemned the incident and said that the government would take steps to prevent such incidents in future.
The police sent Reddy's body to the Osmania General Hospital for a post-mortem.