Wakeup call: Naxals aim to consolidate in south through killing of AP MLA
Visakhapatnam, Sep 25: A group of naxalites comprising several women shot dead a legislator and a former lawmaker in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday.
Telugu Desam Party MLA, Kidari Sarveswara Rao and his colleague, Siveri Soma were shot dead while they were on their way to take part in a village tour in the interior Dumbriguda Mandal, the police said. Both died on the spot, investigations have revealed.
This incident is a wake up call for the security forces considering that they had managed to put the naxalites on the back-foot in Andhra Pradesh. The Greyhounds had in fact reigned in the naxalites, which had forced them to launch operations from neighbouring Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
Sources say that the two leaders who were killed were on the hitlist of the naxalites and had received several death threats in the past. The naxals it appears had instigated some of the villagers, who in turn could have provided logistic support for the attack.
Sources also say that the naxalites numbering 60 may have also had some operatives from Malkangiri and Sukma.
The villagers had been protesting against a mining lease granted to Rao's brother in law.
They had even complained that the quarrying activities were damaging their homes.
However for the naxalites, the issue is not related to the mining lease. It is part of a larger strategy in Andhra Pradesh, where they are trying to regain ground again. Their spread has been decreased to a large extent thanks to the action taken by the Greyhounds.
Officials say that the time now is crucial and any let up could witness the return of the naxalites.
Over the past couple of months, the naxalites have been re-grouping both in Chhattisgarh and Odisha, with the sole intention of building a strong southern corridor. They have been trying to gain entry into Kerala, re-open their base in Karnataka and also re-group in AP.
In recent time there has been plenty of activity in the southern corridor and as recently as four months back the spotting of naxalites in the Western Ghats had raised several eyebrows.
Intelligence Bureau officials say that the killings in AP should act as a wakeup call. The naxalites have prepared a hotlist of politicians, who they will look to target in the days to come. This is part of a larger agenda and by undertaking such killings, they want create a fear in the minds of the villagers. This would in turn help the naxalites get back the support from the villagers, which they had lost in recent years.