VISAKHAPATNAM: At a time when rural police were lulled into belief that there had been no Maoist activity in the Andhra region, the brutal murder of Araku TDP MLA Kideri Sarveswara Rao and his close associate and former MLA Siveri Soma has sent shockwaves through the State administration and police department.
The pre-planned attack is seen as the most audacious operation carried out by Maoists targeting public representatives over the last 10-15 years. While angry supporters alleged that rural police neglected the security of the MLA, the former said that the legislator had not kept them informed of his visit to Dumbriguda.
Dumbriguda mandal, where the incident happened comes under Nandapuri area committee of banned CPI (Maoist) which is led by Aruna, wife of senior Maoist leader Chalapathi. Police sources said that Dumbriguda was not considered a Maoist bastion, considering the fact that Araku, a tourist hotspot, is just 15 km away.
“Lipittuputtu is about 15 km from Araku and Odisha border is around 25 km. There were reports about movement of Maoists in Odisha, but not in AP. However entering Andhra region from Odisha could be possible in one night. Nandapuri area didn’t have any Maoist presence and this incident is totally unexpected,” said DIG (Visakha Range) Ch Srikanth.
After the Ramgarh encounter along the Andhra Odisha Border (AOB) in October 2016, wherein 30 Maoists were gunned down, the rebels have been trying hard to retaliate. However, police kept up the pressure by eliminating several top leaders in ‘encounters’ and forcing some to surrender in the last couple of years. The rural police came to believe that except couple of areas in GK Veedhi and Munchingputtu mandals, there was no presence of Maoists.
However, the attack in Dumbriguda came as a rude shock to the police. The Maoists have been trying to regain their hold since the Ramgarh encounter. Several attempts were made by them to attack the police without success. Even several arsons targeting government vehicles at Lothugedda, blasting of mobile towers, gunning down of several tribals, who were branded police informers, were witnessed. However, the killing of the MLA and the former legislators is the biggest.
MLA didn’t inform of his visit
Rural police said that politicians should inform them whenever they go to interior areas as part of their official visits. Politicians were clearly cautioned against visiting sensitive areas particularly in view of the ongoing week-long Maoist formation day celebrations. A senior police officer from Visakhapatnam rural said that MLA Sarweswara Rao did not inform them of his planned visit to the area. “On prior information, before a politician visit, police would have sanitised the area. But the MLA did had not informed us of his plan to visit Dumbriguda,” added the police officer.