Monday, November 2, 2009

The Rampa Rebellion

The Rampa Rebellion

Sita Rama Raju carried out his campaign in the border areas of East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh. Inspired by the patriotic zeal of the revolutionaries in Bengal, and the decisions taken by them at a meeting in Chittagong in 1921, Sita Rama Raju raided many police stations in and around Chintapalli, Krishna-devi-peta and Raja-vommangi, carrying off guns and powder, and killing several British army officers, including the Scott Coward and Hites, near Damana-palli. Between August and October 1922, he and his men attacked the Chintapalli, Rampa-choda-varam, Rajavommangi and Addati-gala and Annavarampolice stations and blasted the Chintapalli police station. Despite having fewer men and weapons, Alluri and his men exacted tremendous damage on the British, as they were much more familiar with the hilly terrain and adept in guerilla tactics. In the 1920s, the British Raj offered a Rs. 10,000 award for his capture.

Under the leadership of Saunders, the British deployed a company of the Assam Rifles, near Pedagaddapalem, in December 1922. Sita Rama Raju, who had by then gone underground, resurfaced after some four months and continued the fight, strengthened by tribal volunteers, using bows and arrows. He was assisted by two brothers, Mallu Dora and Gantam Dora, who were tribal leaders. Other leaders like Chitikela Bhaskarudu from krishna-devi-peta helped sita rama raju during this period.

On September 18, 1923, Sita Rama Raju raided the Annavaram police outpost. Subsequently, Mallu Dora was arrested. The Government entrusted the task of containing Sita Rama Raju's activities to Rutherford,the then Collector of Vizagpatam District who fired the first salvo when his forces arrested Surya Narayana Raju Pericherla, popularly known as Aggiraju, a strong follower of Sita Rama Raju.

The British campaign lasted nearly one year from December 1922. Sita Rama Raju was trapped by the British in the forests of Chintapalli. He was tied to a tree and shot dead with a rifle in Mampa village.This was irony as the British were proud of their justice system but followed the law of the jungle in this instance. After the martyrdom of Alluri, the tribal revolt lost its momentum petered off by October 1923.

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