Negligence Of AP Police Led To Araku MLA Killing? 

Araku MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao - Sakshi Post

Hyderabad: Complacency on the part of Andhra Pradesh Police may have led to the killing of a legislator and a former legislator by Maoists on Sunday while the rebels appear have sent a message that they may be out but are not down.

The audacious attack by a large number of armed guerrillas has come as a bolt from the blue for the police at a time when it was believed that they have neutralised the Maoist menace in their former stronghold. The gunning down of the MLA and a former legislator of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in broad daylight jolted the police establishment and raised questions if police had lowered the guard. About 50-60 Maoists including women intercepted the vehicles of Araku MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao and former MLA Siveri Soma on a road not far from Dumbriguda 'mandal' (block) headquarter. That the Maoists, some of them armed with Ak-47 and INSAS rifles, snatched weapons from three gunmen of the two leaders and allegedly read a 'chargesheet' against them before gunning them down indicates how well-planned and coordinated the attack was.

Livitiputtu, the village where the attack was carried out, is 15 km from Odisha border and this region was once the hotbed of Maoist activity. It was the worst attack on legislators since 2005 when Congress MLA C. Narsi Reddy and eight others were gunned down in Mahabubnagar district of then unified Andhra Pradesh. Since then a series of blows dealt by police considerably weakened the Maoist movement. The Andhra Pradesh Police emerged as a role model for other states tackling Maoists. Its elite anti-Maoist squad Greyhounds won accolades for the expertise it acquired in dealing with the guerillas. In fact states like Odisha and Chhattisgarh took the help of Andhra police in dealing with the Maoist menace. Forced out of their other strongholds like north Telangana and Nallamalla forests following the killing of several of their cadres and top leaders by the police between 2005 and 2010, CPI-Maoist activities were largely confined to Andhra Odisha Border (AOB). The region witnessed many operations by the Maoists, the biggest being the killing of 38 policemen including personnel of Greyhounds in 2008.

Maoists received the biggest blow in AOB region in October 2016 when police killed 30 rebels in alleged exchange of fire. Since then Maoists had been trying to avenge the killings. The manner in which the Maoists tried to justify the killings of the MLA and former legislator by branding them as betrayers of tribals is being viewed as an attempt to win the sympathies of tribals. Some retired police officials believe that the movement of such a large number of Maoists in the region and the well-planned attack could not have been possible without some ground support. They suspect that the sympathizers of Maoists could have provided them with food and shelter. Former Director General of Police N. Sambasiva Rao believes that as long as Maoists have sympathizers on the ground, it would not be safe to assume that the threat is completely eliminated. While Maoists had been making attempts to regain the foothold in Andhra Pradesh, they were not successful as the police kept up the pressure. Lack of fresh recruitment and disillusionment of tribals with Maoist ideology also contributed.

The violent reaction of tribals and the shutdown called in the agency area following the killing of the MLA and former MLA are seen as a pointer to this disenchantment. The protestors who attacked two police stations blaming police for their failure to prevent the attack questioned the justification for killing a tribal legislator. (IANS)

Also Read: TDP MLA Sarveswara Rao Murder: How It Happened

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