The lady in the above picture is Neeraja Rao, an ordinary citizen of India, like any one else, a resident of Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. She owned around 472 sq. yards of land in Jubilee Hills, or at least used to. Like many others, Neeraja Rao, was a victim of the notorious land mafia that had spread it's tentacles all over Hyderabad.
Development and growth in Hyderabad over the last decade, had shot up the property rates astronomically high. And that bought in the land grabbers who eyed any vacant piece of real estate. It was a vicious nexus between politicians, babus and the goons, irrespective of political affiliation. Almost every MLA and MP in Andhra Pradesh, has been involved in some land grabbing case or other. Ordinary landowners, helplessly gave in, unable to act against this nexus. Neeraja Rao, was one such of them, when her land was grabbed illegally in 2003.
When Y.S.Rajshekar Reddy ( YSR for short) took over as CM, he came up with a controversial G.O. 166, in 2008, which was meant to regularize land owned by poor people in Govt lands. In reality it became a back door entry for politicians to grab lands illegally. One of them was Ravindranath Reddy, who took over her land in 2008, registering it in the name of a 90 yr old Laxmi Rajyam. This guy, Ravindranath Reddy, was none other than YSR's own brother in law, and uncle to Jaganmohan Reddy, one of the contenders for CM's post. Ravindranath Reddy in cahoots with Jagan and the then Collector, Navin Mittal, grabbed Neeraja's land illegally. When Neeraja approached the GHMC Addl Comissioner, Dhananjay Reddy, he bluntly replied that he could not act against YSR's family.
She approached Jagan in Feb 2010, hoping for justice, he gave her false assurances, and then it was apparent, that he was just playing around. Neeraja did not give up hope, and later approached GHMC Comissioner Krishnababu, and and finally on July 27, 2011 the Govt scrapped the regularization of the land, and finally the court gave orders to break down the illegal structures on it.
Neeraja's fight for justice is heart warming, and gives a ray of hope to many ordinary people, who have fallen victim to the land mafia. Neeraja Rao has shown that you can get justice, if you are willing to fight back, and there in lies a lesson to ordinary people. Do not remain passive in face of injustice and fight back. And on that note, wishing all a Happy New Year.