KHAMMAM: In a spontaneous outburst of righteous indignation, the people of Rollagadda in Gundala mandal in Bhadradrikothagudem district, on Wednesday beat up and chased away policemen after CPI ML (New Democracy) dalam commander Punem Linganna died in an “exchange of fire” between the ultras and the cops.
The village in the deep forest erupted in protest as the women wailed over the body of the 40-year-old Naxalite. When the police tried to take the body, the youth gave a hot chase, raining stones on them, and even beat up one of them with sticks. With difficulty, the policemen managed to flee.
But the cops returned and took the body, but not before scaring the villagers by resorting to lathi-charge and firing in the air. The officer on special duty D Uday Kumar Reddy confirmed Linganna’s death, but maintained that it occurred during an exchange of fire, and said a rifle was recovered from him.
According to Uday Kumar Reddy, the police reached the area when they got to know that the six-member Dalam of New Democracy headed by Linganna was in the forest area of Padi hills near Rollagadda village. As they were approaching the area, the Naxalites became alert and began shooting at the advancing police party.
The police returned the gunfire and after some time, the Naxalites stopped the firing. When the police looked around, they found Linganna’s body with a firearm. As the exchange of fire was going on, the remaining Naxalites had fled the area. However, the New Democracy leaders had said the police apprehended the other dalam members.
Linganna, who died in the firing, was from Rollgadda village, where he studied up to Class VII in the nearby Shambhunigudem village. He is survived by wife Saramma, son Haribabu and daughter Hymavathi. Born into a tribal family, he was the district secretary of Bhadradri Kothagudem and also State committee member of CPI (ML) New Democracy party.
State and district committees of the New Democracy condemned Linganna’s killing. Party State secretary DV Krishna and joint secretary Potu Ranga Rao alleged the police killed Linganna in cold blood and demanded that the government produce the apprehended dalam members in a court of law.
Meanwhile, Bhadradri Kothagudem SP Sunil Dutt said he would have to seek a legal opinion on filing FIR against the concerned policemen. “The police fired in self defence,” he maintained and added that cases would be booked against those who opened fire at the police as well as those who tried to prevent the policemen from taking Linganna’s body.