Missing pages of Indian Freedom Struggle : Alluri Sita Rama Raju an untold National Hero

This article is all about Alluri Sita Rama Raju, A great revolutionary hero and a true Indian patriot, Who brought shiver in the spine of British colonial rulers. One of the greatest revolutionary fighters of Andhra Pradesh. He fought for a cause, for social justice, for freedom, and for to liberate innocent tribals from bondage and slavery. Who were looted by colonial rulers, morally materially and culturally. He made a great revolt on behalf of Manyam Tribal people ( Manyam is a tribal corridor extended from Vijayanagaram to Godavari Districts of Andhra Pradesh, India)

One of the more ignored aspects of the Indian freedom struggle has been the various tribal revolts that broke out against the British rule. Tribals were prohibited from cutting trees for firewood, their traditional Podu cultivation was banned, and they were often exploited by contractors who used them as labor for building roads in those areas.

Many protests broke out in the tribal areas of Eastern Indian, notably Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Western Odisha, Bengal, one of the more famous one was that of Birsa Munda in Jharkhand. The Agency area covering Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is the name given to the tribal tracts of Northern parts of both the states, bordering Odisha, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, along the Eastern Ghats. A vast area covering the districts of Vizag, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, East and West Godavari in Andhra Pradesh, and Khammam, Warangal, Adilabad, Karimnagar in Telangana, with it’s hills, valleys, thick forests and tribal living there.

The oppressive Madras Forest Act of 1882, was a curse for the tribals of the Agency Area, who were prohibited from cutting trees for firewood and carrying out their traditional occupations. At such a time, Alluri Sitarama Raju emerged to fight for the tribal rights in Agency, and mobilize them for an armed revolution.

At an age of 27 years,he managed to foment an armed uprising with limited resources and motivating the poor, illiterate tribal against the mighty British empire.
July 4th, the day when America became independent of British colonial rule, Ramaraju was born at Pandrangi in Vishakapatnam district in 1897. His ancestors originally hailed from Rajolu in East Godavari district, before they migrated outwards, and his parents Venkatarama Raju and Suryanarayanamma, were originally from Mogallu in West Godavari district. He had a sister Sitamma and a brother Satyanarayana Raju. His real name was Sriramaraju named after his maternal grandfather, in due course of time, he came to be called as Sitaramaraju. As per some sources it is believed that he adopted the name of Sitarama Raju after the woman who loved him, but whom he could not marry.

Raju lost his father when he was just 6 years old, and his family had to suffer a lot due to financial difficulties. His uncle Ramakrishna Raju helped the family both financially as well as assisting Raju in his education. In 1909, he joined the Mission High School in Bhimavaram and would walk daily to it from Kovvada. He also learnt horse riding from his friend at Chinchinada a small village near Narasapur. He studied later at various schools in Rajahmundry, Rampachodavaram, Kakinada and Pithapuram, had to keep shifting constantly from one place to another.

His mind was never in studies, and he was restless always moving from one place to another, failing exams, often getting beaten up by his teacher. When his family was at Tuni, in 1918, Raju used to tour the hills, valleys nearby, where he came into contact with the tribals living there, and saw their condition first hand. He had the nationalist feelings from an early age itself, and believed deeply in God. He would regularly do Puja to Devi, as well as spend long hours in meditation.
The turning point in his life came when he went on a tour to the North in 1916. He stayed with Surendranath Banerjee for some time, and attended the Congress session at Lucknow.He learnt Sanskrit during his stay at Varanasi, also visited Ujjain, Haridwar, Indore, Baroda, Amritsar, Badrinath,and learnt many languages in course of time. It was a period of learning for him, when he read books on medicine, animal breeding,and also wrote some himself. In 1918 he again went on another tour, this time traveling through Nasik, Pune, Mumbai, Bastar, Mysore, before coming back to Krishnadevi Peta, where he stayed with his mother.
With his prowess in various martial arts,Ayurveda, Raju became a leader and inspiration for people living in the areas surrounding Tuni, Narsipatnam. He began to fight for the rights of the tribals in the Manyam region, and also led a campaign against alcoholism( widely prevalent there), casteism.
The lot of the tribals was miserable in the Manyam region, suffering exploitation from the Britishers in all ways possible. They were used as laborers, their lands taken over and their women folk were sexually exploited too.

They led a harsh life dependent on Podu(Shifting cultivation) and selling forest produce, and the exploitation made it even worse for them. In collaboration with contractors, the tribals were made to work as coolies for building roads, and were not even paid for their services.
The contractors would treat the tribals like slaves, making them work hard, not paying them, beating them up mercilessly. The tribals were made to carry the contractors from one place to another, their womenfolk were used sexually, it was a truly miserable existence for them. Sporadic revolts broke out in the Manyam region called Pithuri, one of them was at Lagarayi led by Verayya Dora, who was arrested at Rajavommangi.
Seeing the misery and exploitation, Alluri decided to stand along with the tribals, and fight for their rights. He bought awareness among them of their rights, infused courage and determination and motivated them to fight against the injustice meted out to them. The tribals in turn turned to him for guidance and advice,and he soon became a leader for the 30-40 odd tribal villages there. He made them give up their habit of toddy drinking, taught them in guerilla warfare and combat. The Gama brothers Gantam Dora and Mallu Dora, Kankipati Padalu, Aggiraju became some of his trusted lieutenants.
Bastian, the Tahsildar of Chintappali divison( now in Vizag district) was the most sadistic of all the British officers. He was notorious for his exploitation of the tribal coolies used for the construction of the road from Narsipatnam to Lambasingi. Tribals who demanded more pay were whipped to death, and Raju’s complaints to higher authorities fell on deaf ears. The authorities in turn getting reports of increasing revolutionary activity began to spy on Raju at Narsipatnam, Addateegala, and for some time he was in exile to avoid detection.With the help of Fazaulla Khan, the Dy.Collector of Polavaram, sympathetic to the tribal cause, Raju once again entered the Manyam region in 1922. For close to 2 years, Raju would lead one of the most intense uprisings against the British, that nearly shook them to the core. With Mallu Dora, Gantam Dora, Padalu, Aggiraju, he lead a team of nearly 150 fighters against the British, a formidable armed uprising.

The out break of August 1922- Attack on three police stations

In January 1922, an alarm was raised that a man named Alluri Sri Rama Raju was plotting a rebellion. A sub-Inspector of Police telegraphed to Mr.Swire,the then District Superintendent of Police, Agency Division,of what he had heard and feared. Mr.Swire held an enquiry at Narsipatnam and Raju was also present there. It was concluded that there was no evidence of a plot to raise a rebellion but that Raju was better kept under police surveillance.

“In the result it was decided to give Raju some land in the Agency : a plot was chosen at paidiput village Addatigala in Rampa Division and a kadapa was executed which gave him possession of it.”

“Apparently Raju settled there and soon acquired a reputation as s sanyasi,astrologer and megician. People from all parts of the agency went to see and consult him and he gave written mantrams to some of his callers.”

“Nothing happened till 26th July 1922 when Raju was given by the Divisional officer, Rampa Division, a document which is a sort of “pass port” permitting him to go to Nepal. The officer who gave him this died the day after he gave it; so nothing is known of the reasons for his actions. Raju left the document at the Addatigala Police Station and went his way.”

“Raju was next heard of at Peddavalsa in Gudem Taluk; there he was met by two leading men of Gudem- Gam Mallu Dora and Gam Gantam Dora, who complained to him of oppression by their taluk officer, Bastion , of the general discontent at his methods and at the forest reservation policy and told him they would join if he started a rebellion instead of going to Nepal.”

On the 21st August 1922 Raju and the Gam brothers started collecting men at Peddavalasa and on 22nd August 1922 a large body of men marched on Chintapalli and attacked the police station. The three constables in the station could not do anything against about 200 men who carried away arms and ammunition.

In all they obtained 27 carbines, 38 boyonets, 20 swards and hundreds of rounds of carbine ammunation. On the 28th August they were at Gudem and Devarapalli and marched to Gangaraju Madugula in the ghats sub division.

The immediate reaction of the government was to send police parties to close up on the area which they called Rampa while it meant the Agency area of Visakhapatnam. Throughout the struggle from 1922 on wards, the area is mentioned in the records as Rampa and the men who rose in arms as “fituridars”

The station crime history of Chitapalli is recorded as follows for the 22nd August 1922 (Station Crime History -part- IV General Information. Station -Chintapalli-Village VI,District – Vizagapatnam (Extract dt. 18 August 1935) Signed by the Inspector of Police

The Rebellion and the Operations:

The first attack during this fituri was on Chintapalli station on 22nd August 1922 at about 12 noon by Gam mallu Dora, Kankipati Sarabanna padel, Gabalam, Singadu, Mamidi Chinnayya, Jaggi Veerayya Dora and others headed by Alluri Sitarama raju and armed with muzzle loading guns. They tied the sentry and the waiting constables to the pillars of the station house, broke open the magazine and carried away about 1400 ball cartridges and 12 carbines.

The Inspector-General of Police proceeded to Narsipatnam, where a base was established. The Agency Commissioner and the Deputy Inspector General were to be available here to take quick decisions on different matters.

After looting three police stations, the rebel group had with them about 26 police muskets and 2,500 rounds of ammunition. At Rajavommangi the rebels released Virayya Dora from the prision. Virayya Dora was state prisoner at Vijayanagaram.

A second attack on Krishnadevipeta was feared when the sub-inspector was away attending the case of Virayya Dora at Rajavommangi on 24th August. Fear gripped the police force as they were not aware of when and how the attack would take place.

Three Assistant Superintendents of police arrived with more force on the 11th of September to search the Lammasingi area as also the jungles around Golugonda above ghats for rebels. Sitarama Raju moved over to Kilamkota and thence to Gangaraju Madugula. Many of his men were ill, The police were alert,averting the looting of police stations for arms and ammunition. Police searched villages and the Saraguda forest fo the rebels but in vain.

Two men were captured in the hills while the main body remained untraced. In this process even innocent villagers seem to have been caught and harassed for information, thus generating an atmosphere of fear in the tribal areas.

Sitarama Raju who planned the movement had a flag and the people identified it. There were mo face to face encounter or straight fight but it was guerilla warfare in the hills. Scott Coward, an experienced officer,with 33 reserve police and 6 mules left Chintapalli in search of the hideout of the rebels in the agency area. Local people gave food to the rebels, harbored them and also fed them with information about troop movements. The authorities were helpless as no information was forthcoming from the locals and the only thing they could do was to prosecute village headmen, who treated the police as aliens and indeed they represented the British. The agency Commissioner felt that “there was no general grievance which would make them support the fituri whole heartedly.”

Word spread that the rebels were descending on Narsipatnam via Kondasantha at the foot of the hills and the police lay in wait to attack them.The rebels slipped off around Gantavari Kottagudem and went into a hiding place in the hills while the police exhausted themselves searching for escapists in Saraguda forest, Sarabhannapalem, Koyyur and Peddavalasa.

For the police troop, the terrain was difficult and unfamiliar movement in the hills and jungles infested with wild animals caused them a lot of hardship and peril. Once a tigress killed three men while six officers each with fifty men were searching the Peddavalasa- Gudem-Chintapalli area. By September, the police force gradually swelled to about 400 men and eight European officers. They used lorries and elephants for transportation of men, equipment and rations. When subordinate ranks of scouts were caught by his men, Raju did not kill them but sent them back putting the fear of God into them. He told them that war was not against the Sub-ordinates but against the foreign rulers, namely the British.

The first three days of the rebellion:

The first three days of the outbreak are described by Kolanki Kannadu when he was caught by the police. The village munsif Kankipati Balayya Padalu sent some vessels and rice through Kannadu, the vetti to Raju who was going to Madugula on his mission to loot Chintapalli, 30 men met Raju at Pentrapadu and Kannadu describes the events as he was one in the group : On the first day,about 2 p.m, the fituridars under Raju went to Chintapalli and asked the constables to hand over arms and ammunition. The three constables present were tied to the pillars of the station verandah and each of them guarded by four fituridars. The lock of the station was broken open, and eleven carbines along with two boxes of ammunition were taken away. They did not enter the armory. They reached Sarabannapalem the next morning i.e. 23rd August, By 4.p.m the fituridars reached Krishnadevieta and waited in the temple there. Gam Gantam Dora and Gam Mallu Dora the two brothers, along with Aggi Raju went to the police station to get arms, the Sub-inspector and the police-men ran away leaving the police station.

At Krishnadevipeta the rebels got seven carbines and some boxes of ammunition. At Nadimpalem they snatched away one carbine and cartridges from the constables returning from Rampol ghat and crossed Chintapalli ghat. Accompanied by a few men Raju looted Rajavommangi on the 24th August from the Kantaram side, while the others stayed back at Kntaram itself. The party under Raju brought in six carbines, some boxes of ammunition and two swords.
They reached Gudem back with the looted arms and ammunition on the 27th August while in the second round the consumption reached 20 kunchams a day (1 kuncham roughly 12 kg)

Onjeri incident 3rd September :

As the rebel group rested at Onjeri they sighted five elephants moving from Gimili side. Three men were sent to intercept them but the men returned that the elephants were crossing the hills and getting down the ghat with heavy loads.

Sitarama Raju and his men swung into action immediately and went in pursuit of the elephants. Thirty police constables were with the elephants and Gam Mallu Dora and Muttam Lingam Dora asked their men to open fire. Both sides opened fire and under the cover of the fusillade the police escaped abandoning the stores and the elephants. One policeman was killed in the encounter. Right from the first attack on the police station at Chintapalli on the 22nd August, Raju and his men were on the offensive. Boxes brought on the elephants were broken open and the clothes, cumblies (warm blankets) and coats were distributed among the members of the group who were really in need of them. After a full days of trekking on 4th September they reached Gondipakalu, a hamlet of Lammasingi the next morning. From here they cut across the Dhar Hills. While the group was in Dhar hills Kolanki Kannadu , Rimala Sanyasi were sent to Rampolu, the biggest village in the vicinity, to collect food but were caught by the police. Kannadu said that there were about 60 men in the group, while Rimala Sanyasi stated that he ran away at Velagapalem when the men numbered 90. Rimala Sanyasi went as a messenger to the different villages and in his statement he gave out the names of the people willing to join the rebellion.

From peddavalasa three men of the Padalu family, from Saparathipalem, Guduthuru,Balachinna, Guduthuru Bangarayya, Vadalam Lingayya and Vadalam Gunnayya and the village munsif of Rampolu were all supporting the rebels. Kolanki Kannadu , Rimala Sanyasi were the first to be arrested within the two weeks of the start of the rebellion. Their statements were recorded on 8th September at Chintapalli. Mottadam Virayya Dora, who joined the rebels after his relese from Vommangi jail on 24th August, was captured near Gudem and taken to Chintapalli on 5th September 1922. He had been free hardly for a fortnight.

Kamayya, a sub- Inspector of police, Jeypore, who was on fituri duty from Rampolu to Saparathipalem and Peddavalasa on the 5th of September to investigate if the rebels had collected food at Tirumamidi and Lakhavarapupeta. While returning, the Sub- Inspector was caught by twenty men ast Saparathipalem,five of them rebels in police uniforms. The Sub-Inspector was taken to ghat area four miles from there. In his presencr Sitarama Raju informed his men that he planned to get ammunition from Malkangiri and cannon from Jeypore (Koraput district of present Orissa). Sub-Inspector Kamayya was asked to inform his superiors about this and was relesed.

Damanapalle ambush : September 1922-Police reinforcements :

Apparently the police got the message about the Onjeri incident and began searching the area for the rebels. The Assistant Superintendent of Police, Scott Coward,known for his courage proceeded from Chintapalli on the 8th September, with all the reserves at his command, police numbering above 300 and six mules carrying equipment and rations.He even traced a hideout of the rebels on the slopes of Dhar hills but lost track of the rebels themselves. He searched the Saraguda forests intensely for ten days but with no result.

The terrain was difficult and a tiger attacked a police vehicle on the Lammasingi road itself. A postman climbing ghat road within a mile of the town was killed by the tiger on 23rd September. Along with Scott Coward was Hayter, who had done good work in Malabar,and had served during World War of 1914 and in the Afghan war 1919. As temporary Assistant Superintendent of Police, he was assisting Scott Coward, who not only had a good knowledge of the agency but was courageous enough to rush into deep forests in pursuit of rebels.

Near, Damanapalli, the village munsif’s brother Kunderi Borram Naidu, informed the rebels about the police search party and their movements in the area. This enabled the rebels to lay ambush on Damanapalli ghat.

Visiting Damanapalli, the two British officers were returning to Serabhannapalem at the foot of the hills. The narrow track passed a steep ravine and the police force was proceeding single file. The rebels watched the advance guard from the jungle above the path and as soon as the guard passed, the two British officers at the head of the force were shot at and both the officers fell dead along with tow constables of the Bellary Special Force. One constable was killed and two others, a haed constable and lance naik wounded,while two others were missing. This was very unexpected event and the Inspector General of Police with a party of his men attempted to collect the dead bodies of the officers but came under heavy fire in which another police man was killed. The Inspector-General feeling helpless returned to Serabhannapalem and the bodies were brought in by the villagers later. The burial of Scott Coward and Hayter took place at Narasipatnam on 27th September 1922 while the injured police men died on the 3rd of the following month.

Along with the Agency Commissioner, the party left from Narasipatnam to Krishnadevipeta but was ambushed on the way and rocks were hurled from the hill tops making difficult for them to move out of the area. The government realized that the difficult terrain needed something more then ordinary police force. In the first six weeks, the police had lost two of the experienced British Officers and five policemen, while arms and ammunition from three police stations had been taken away and supplies to police and officers were intercepted on way to the hills.

Capture of Alluri Sita Rama Raju-The7th May 1924 :

The 7th of May 1924, goes down in history as a historic date since on this day one of the greatest freedom fighters of Andhra fell to the bullets of the British. On that day, the intelligence wing patrol with Sub-Inspector Alwar Nayudu and jamadar Kunchu Menon were camping under tamarind tree near Mumpa village. From there they saw a fair man with a beard pass by, at a distance of some 200 yards. They got suspicious that this man could,in all probability be the leader of the movement Alluri Sita Rama Raju. According to the local accounts it may be inferred that towards the end of the 2nd year of struggle,things became hot for the poor peasants who had joined the movement in the hope of regaining their rights over the forests, their right for podu cultivation and for grassing cattle etc. There was no cultivation for nearly two years and no time to collect and sell the forest produce as the whole place was infested with Police and fighting forces. The men were now tired of the whole affair as almost all their hiding places had been combed and they were away from their hearth and homes for long with no concrete benefits. Sitarama Raju himself might have understood this feeling of theirs and might have wanted to come into the open.

Another version says that these two police officers were camping at Jeedipalem when a few policemen came running and informed them that a man of fair complexion and close beard was going through the jungle. They all rushed in that direction and saw the man a hundred yards away. The fair man pretended to escape on seeing the police and a few rounds were fired, Kunchu Menon, in charge of the intelligence patrol describes the situation in an awkwardly worded memoranda dated 7th May 1924. On seeing them, Menon says, the man lay down, the police surrounded him who he was. The words put into the month of Sitarama Raju might have been meant to please British Officers. Obviously they might have been concocted as they were completely against the very nature of Raju. The fair man said that he was Raju,whome they wanted and begged for his life. May be some of the locals had even planned to hand him over the police to gain a reward and also to bring the long drawn struggle to an end but it may be proper to infer that Raju surrendered voluntarily. Kunchu Menon suggests that two more of the Malabar Special Police, Naik Choyikutti and constable Kunhunni Panikkar caught Raju and brought him to the camp. While they were coming,two men with guns were seen lingering around and were fired at.

Sitarama Raju was caught near Mampa and taken to the camp of Major Goodal at Koyyur. The police sources again try to present a picture which could not be true. A person in the helplessness who had voluntarily came down the hills could not have made an attempt to escape. They say that Raju tried to escape when he was freed to ease himself. Local reports say that he was shot dead after he was tied to a tree near Koyyur.

The local people of Koyyur even today show the particular tree to which Raju was tied. The dead body was put in a standing posture on a cot and taken in procession as a deterrent for others. The procession went to Chidipalem where also the body was recognized or rather identified as the Raju’s.
From there the cortege proceeded to Krishna Devipeta, one of the important basecamps of the government forces. People not only identified Raju but wept silently for fear of the police. The Deputy Tahsildar of Gudem,all the 50 muttadars and village munsif’s and the local villagers who knew Raju even before 1922 August all identified him; still the British officers had a lurking fear of mistaken identify. The body of Sitarama Raju was photographed before he was cremated at Krishna Devi Peta on the morning of 8th May.

Sitarama Raju sent his mother and brother to Narsapur in June,1922. In this connection Raju ion was addressed a letter written in English with pencil under the signature to Bastin, Deputy Tahsildar of Gudem Taluk informing him about the journey of his mother.

Raju’s Letter to Bastin

To.
Mr.Bastin
Deputy Tahsildar
Gudem Taluka
Krishnadevipeta.

Sir,
Yesterday after you sent word to me, asking my mother to get prepared for the journey I came to see you in the evening. When I returned home after taking leave of you,in the night, I learnt that my mother had not taken her meals from the morning because of fear and confusion, nor she prepared for the jouney. As such I had to stop my journey last night. To-day I am sure to send her by 10 or 11 a.m.

Hoping to be excused.
Yours obediently,
(Sd/) Sri Alluri Sree Rama Raju

After sending his mother and brother, Raju was completely free to devote all his time for making preparations to launch the revolt.Through his teachings to agency people, Raju kindled the fire of independence in the minds of agency people were just waiting for Raju’s order to revolt against the Government.
The much awaited day came as a surprise. As per the plan and arrangements the outbreak of revolt began with the attack on Chintapalle Police Station on 22 August,1922 under the leadership of Raju with his strong followers.
According to the station report a gang of rebels numbering about 300 armed with country guns,swords,spears,bows and arrows suddenly appeared at the station at about 5 p.m.overpowered the three constables and tied them to the pillars of the station. The detail of the ammunition lost was reported as eleven police muskets and 1,300 rounds of ammunition, five P.M.P swords, ten ammunition pouches,two leading chains,fourteen bayonets,nine cleaning rods etc
Next day ,23 August ,1922, at noon. Here also the Sub-Inspector was absent,having gone to visakhapatnam for audit training. They were easily overpowered by the rebels and rebels seized six muskets and 280 rounds of ammunition, fourteen bayonets, ten bayonet scabbards,five P.M.P swords, nine ammunition pouches and some uniform of the men in the lines.

The news of the fall of these police stations and subsequent risings created a sensation throughout the agency and altered the government, especially the operational machinery of the government. The rebels reached Gudem on the 28th and stopped there for the Dasara Puja.
On the 24th morning of September the rebels were halting near the Damanapalli ghat and a police party under Scott Coward and Hayter. The advanced guard of the police party was allowed to pass unmolested but when the two European Officers approched, fire was opened ad they were killed.

Raju camped with his followers within two miles of Krishnadevipeta. The rebels then proceeded to the Dhar Mattam, a sacred temple on the Dhar Hill, and from there crossing the Narsipatnam-Golugonda road in the Arilova forest towards south in the karaka hill on the 15th October,the rebels attacked Addatigala Police station but got nothing as all the arms and ammunition there had been previously removed as a precautionary measure.

On the 30th October 1922 the gang captured a police constable who was carrying (letters) and Raju made a remark in the Station House General Diary contained in the Tappal as ” only sixty men and 30 guns”
against the portion relating to himself. Raju sent several messages to Forbes challenging him to come out and fight but he made no attempt to attack the post.

On 6th December 1922 the rebels visited Dharmattam hill temple, Raju’s favorite place of worship.Then headed by Raju the gang left in the direction of Peddagaddapalem.On the morning of December 6, a part of Malabar police faced the rebels in the grove of tamarind trees.Firing took place from both the sides and fierce battle was fought and five rebels were killed and one was captured.On the same night between 11 to 11;45 another police party attacked the rebels at Lingapuram valley and the action lasted for an hour and ended at 12:45am.Due to inaccurate and spasmodic firing by the rebels, eight were dead and others were wounded. These two disasters caused a serious set back to Raju.

A proclamation was issued a reward of Rs.1,000/- for Raju’s capture, Rs.1000/- for the capture of each of the Gam brothers and Veeraiah Dora and Rs.50/- for the capture of any of other rebels.Later the award was raised to Rs.10,000/ for Raju.On 25 June 1923 at 1.00pm to answer the complaint for committing the offenses of attempting to wage a war against the king,committing dacoity,robbery with attempting to cause death or grievous hurt and murder under 121,121 A,122,143,145,149,395, and punishable under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
On September 2, a police party tried to capture Raju at Ramavaram but it was beaten back by the gang. The most important success for the Government was the capture of Mallu Dora, Raju’s Cheif Lieutenant on the night of september 17.

By the end of the year 1923, it became evident that the forces in the agency were not sufficient to deal with the rebels. The Government of Madras there fore obtained the services of Assam Rifles and these forces arrived in Narsipatnam on 27 January 1924.Major Goodall headed the Assam Rifles. The rebels continued their activity visiting villages for supplies.On April 17, T.G.Rutherford was appointed as special Commissioner in charge of the agency operations and measures taken by him had some effect. Punitive tax was imposed on certain areas and number of village officers and others who assisted the rebels were punished.

On May 6, a party of the Malabar Police while searching for the rebels near Maderu river fell in the rebels. The rebels opened fire and wounded a constable seriously. The 7th May proved to be a historic event in the history of the the agency rebellion and a fatal day for the heroic Raju,
That morning an intelligence patrol of the East Coast Special Police led by Jamadar Kunchu Menon happned to observe a fair bearded man passing by and guessing that he might be Raju,captured him. After capturing Raju, he brought Raju before Major Goodal of Assam Rifles. It was alleged that Raju was shot dead while trying to escape.

Local people who were the witnesses to the incident report that Raju was shot dead after he was tied to a tree near Koyyuru. The shot wounds caused on the chest of Raju as seen in the photograph released by the Government adds strength to the version of the local people.

After the death of Sitarama Raju, a number of tribals and hill men were captured and taken into custody. During combing operations by the police,some others were suspected and arrrested. On 12 May 1924
the agency Sessions judge delivered his judgement in the case of action war against Mallu Dhora and several others. Mallu Dhora was sentenced to death which was later commuted for life imprisonment, while others were sentenced to deportation for life to Andamans.

Sadly Raju got no support from the Congress, they in fact welcomed the suppression of the Rampa revolt and his assassination. The Swatantra weekly magazine, in fact claimed that people like Raju should be killed, and the Krishna Patrika said that police, people should be given more weapons to protect themselves from the revolutionaries. It is another thing that after his death the same magazines praised Raju as another Shivaji, Rana Pratap, while the Satyagrahi called him another George Washington. The best tribute to Raju was paid by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose.

Historian Sumit Sarkar had chronicled the heroic rebellion of Rama Raju in his book Modern India 1885-1947: “The most striking evidence of continued popular militancy came from the ever-restive semi-tribal Rampa region in north of the Godavari, scene of a veritable guerrilla war between August 1922 and May 1924 led by Sitarama Raju, – a truly remarkable man who has become a folk hero in Andhra.”

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