Alluri Sita Rama Raju
Alluri Sita Rama Raju (1897-1924; also called Alluri Rama Chandra Raju, and Alluri Seetha Rama Raju) was an Indian freedom fighter from the Mogallu village in the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, India. He was the leader of the ill-fated "Rampa Rebellion" that was fought against the British occupiers from 1922 to 1923. Popularly referred to as 'Raju', he lives on in the hearts of the Telugu people as the Manyam Veerudu ('Hero of the jungles').
The Rampa Rebellion
Sita Rama Raju Alluri a terror to the alien rulers, Alluri Seetha Rama Raju was one of Andhra's early revolutionaries. He successfully led the tribals revolting against the Crown. Mobilising them, he launched an armed rebellion against the British.
He was deeply moved by the plight of the tribals at the hands of the British rulers, who used to infringe on their rights. The Madras Forest Act 1882 was formulated to deprive the tribals of their rights. The Act placed restrictions on the free movement of tribals in the forest areas, prevented "podu" (shifting) cultivation, felling and tapping of trees for firewood and toddy.
The British officers despite their superior weapons were no match to Alluri and his men, who were adept in guerilla tactics and knew the hilly terrain like the back of their palm. They used to attack the police stations and seize the arms and ammunition. Alluri carried a reward of Rs 10,000 on his head.
Born in Mogallu village of West Godavari district on May 15 1898, Alluri had his early education at Rajahmundry and Rama-chandrapuram in East Godavari district. His father died when Alluri was in his elementary school and he grew up in the care of his uncle Rama Chandra Raju, a tahsildar in Narsapur. He shifted to Tuni along with his mother, brother and sister, on the transfer of his uncle. He joined Mrs A.V.N. College in Visakhapatnam on September 20, 1912. He dropped out of the college after having failed in fourth form (Std. IX).
While in Tuni, Alluri used to frequent the agency areas of Visakhapatnam district. Between August and October 1922, he and his men attacked the Chintapalli, Rampa-chodavaram, Rajahmundry and Addateegala and Annavaram police stations and blasted the Chintapalli police station.
He was trapped by the British in the forests of Chintapalli. It is said that he did not offer any resistance to the police as he felt that the British officers were harassing the innocent tribals as a bait to catch him. He was tied to a tree and shot dead with a rifle in Mampa village. After the exit of Alluri, the tribal revolt lost its sheen.
The statue of this "Pride of Telugus" stands majestically at The Park junction in hyderabad. The repressive measures and the unjust policies of the British, coupled with the misdeeds of British contractors who exploited and oppressed the workers of the hill tribes of the Visakhapatnam district, brought Alluri Sita Rama Raju into a tussle with the police who supported the contractors. This eventually culminated in the Rampa Rebellion (or Rampa Pituri; 'pituri' means 'complaints' in Telugu).
Sita Rama Raju carried out his campaign in the 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 ruthless Scott Coward and Hites, near Damanapalli.
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 ably assisted by two brothers, Mallu Dora and Gantam Dora, who were tribal leaders. They were skilful in guerrilla warfare as they were well-versed with the difficult terrain which was covered by thick forests and valleys.
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 one Rutherford, 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 campaign lasted nearly one year from December 1922, and petered off by October 1923. Sita Rama Raju surrendered himself, and was shot dead without a trial in May 1924.