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VISAKHAPATNAM: Maoists gunned down Araku MLA Kideri Sarveswara Rao and former MLA Siveri Soma at Lipittuputtu village of Tottangi Panchayat in Dumbriguda mandal in Visakhapatnam agency on Sunday.
This incident allegedly took place when the leaders attended the interior tribal village to take part in Gramadarshini programme.
Sarveswara Rao won as the YSR Congress candidate in 2014, but he later defected to the TDP.
According to sources, Maoists have shot both the MLA and former MLA at close range. Soon after receiving information about the incident, teams led by Superintendent of Police (Visakhapatnam Rural) Rahul Dev Sharma rushed to the spot. It is yet to be ascertained by the rural police whether the leaders went to the interior areas with proper police security.
Rural police sources said that team of about 40 to 50 Maoists led by AOB Secretary Ramakrishna took part in attack. Both the leaders allegedly were shots at close range. Sources said that the Maoists spoke to the leaders and then attacked them.
The Maoists reportedly asked the leaders to stop mining in the agency areas which are affecting the livelihood of the tribals. Even as the talks were going on, Maoists pumped bullets into the MLA and the former MLA killing them instantly, reports reaching here said.
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Even the Dumbriguda mandal, where Sundays attack occurred, was said to be relatively free from Maoist activity, but the killing of the legislator and the former legislator has come as a blow to the government machinery.
Sarveswara Rao was elected as an MLA from Araku Valley (Scheduled Tribes) constituency as YSR Congress candidate in 2014 and defected to the TDP in 2016. He was subsequently made the Government Whip in the Assembly. Soma represented Araku constituency as TDP legislator from 2009 to 2014.
Recently, posters and letters appeared in the region in name of Maoists warning the Araku MLA and accordingly police placed him on high alert, sources said. The two were proceeding in separate cars to Lipitiputtu village.
While Rao was having two personal security officers (PSOs) as escort, Soma one, all carrying AK-47 rifles and 9-mm pistols, police sources said. According to an eyewitness account, about 50-60 outlawed Maoists most of them women, lay in wait along with villagers and suddenly surrounded the MLAs car in the front.
Around 20 of them were armed. They snatched the weapons from the PSOs and tied the MLAs hands with a rope. They then ordered three other people travelling with the legislator to get down from the vehicle and took all of them away to a distance, the eyewitness said.
One of the PSOs told television channels that the Maoists, after snatching their weapons, said they would not harm them. They took us (PSOs), driver, MLAs PA and two others away to a distance and told us we will not be harmed. They then shot the MLA dead, he said.
The former MLA, who was following in a second car, tried to stop his vehicle and reverse it but another group of Maoists came out of the bushes and surrounded it. Soma's hands were also tied with rope and taken away and shot dead.
The incident has wrecked havoc in the Andhra Odisha Border, as there were no such attacks on politicians in the last couple of years. Director General Police (AP) RP Thakur is yet to hold a press conference on the issue.
DGP office officials instructed Vizag greyhounds and concerned Vizag rural police to conduct combing in the forest area. The information of attack on Araku MLA was sent to DGP Thakur, who was on his USA visit. Additional DG Harish Kumar Guptha is instructing the Vizag police.
(With PTI inputs)