Another brutal killing on Friday, within three months of the killing of a BJP MLA from Dantewada, has shaken the police establishment of Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Nalluri Srinivas Rao, who was kidnapped by Maoists from Telangana four days ago, was found dead near Puttapadu village in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Friday.
According to Telangana police sources, 45-year-old Rao was kidnapped from Kothur village (Cherla mandal) in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district around midnight of Monday. He was a former member of Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency (MPTC) of Bestha Kothur village.
After Rao’s abduction, the deceased’s wife, Durga in her statement to news channels had said that around 15 to 20 unidentified people armed with lathis and weapons had dragged her husband out of their house and had taken him away. The armed persons pointed guns at Rao’s wife and son Praveen, and when they tried to resist, they were assaulted.
The possible reason behind the murder
The cause of the TRS leader's death is yet to be ascertained by the police. However, according to local sources in Sukma, Maoist pamphlets were found near the body of the slain leader.
In the said pamphlets, the Maoist cadre has claimed that Rao was a police informer and had been working closely with the anti-Naxal and intelligence unit of Telangana Police against Maoists. He used villagers to get information regarding Maoists, which he passed on to police, the pamphlet stated. The Maoist cadre further alleged in the pamphlet that Rao had grabbed 70 acres of land of the tribals and when the latter protested, the deceased, in connivance with the police, got tribals arrested under ‘false cases’.
Local unconfirmed sources claimed that Rao had taken the tribal land on lease for cultivation.
Owing responsibility of the killing, the secretary of Shabri Area Committee of the CPI (Maoist), Sharda, in the pamphlet claimed that “Rao has been punished for his ill deeds and deserved this punishment”.
What Telangana police says
According to reports, the superintendent of police, Bhadradri-Kothagudem district, Sunil Dutt said that the deceased TRS leader had been working for the welfare of farmers and villagers. The police have registered an FIR against Sharda and other Maoists involved in the abduction and killing.
Telangana Police sources said that Rao had a severe head injury but whether death occurred due to bullets is yet to be ascertained. “After a thorough inquiry, the modus operandi of his killing can be ascertained, on whether it is a bullet injury or head injury," a source told Firstpost.
A police team from Telangana is reportedly on its way to Sukma to complete the formalities and bring the body back.
Bastar’s Dandakaranya forest, a fertile ground for Maoists
In spite of adopting several counter-insurgency security measures, the Maoist-hotbed Bastar continues to be a fertile ground for the Naxal insurgents. They continue to use the terrain to achieve their goal of abduction and killing of those who oppose them.
Facing pressure from Telangana Police and its elite anti-Naxal commando unit Greyhounds, a large section of the Maoist cadre has already shifted to adjoining state Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, making the district a dreaded Maoist hideout and fortress.
The Erampadu and Puttapadu villages at Kistaram in Sukma district are Naxal strongholds. The dreaded Battalion-1, under its commander Hidma, operates from the jungles of this region.
Why is Chhattisgarh Police silent?
The Chhattisgarh police has maintained a stoic silence about this high-profile killing by the Naxals in the Maoist-hotbed Bastar. This is the second high-profile killing after Bhima Mandavi was killed in an IED blast in Dantewada district on 9 April – two days before the first phase of Lok Sabha polling.
In between, the Maoists have allegedly killed a local panchayat-level leader and innocent tribals. “The incident is related to Telangana and we’re looking into it. We’ve no further information on what led to the killing of the TRS leader,” a senior official of Chhattisgarh Police told Firstpost on condition of anonymity.
However, according to a Sukma-based source, after Rao’s abduction, a local newspaper had published a news piece claiming that the TRS leader might have been brought in this region by the Maoists.
Updated Date: Jul 12, 2019 23:33:10 IST