Andhra MLA, TDP leader shot dead by Naxals in Visakhapatnam, probe on

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Visakhapatnam, September 23: Two Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders from Araku have been shot dead by Naxals on Sunday. K Sarveswara Rao, 45, TDP MLA from Araku (Reserved-Scheduled Tribe) and his party colleague and former MLA Siveri Soma, 52, were attacked near Thutangi village, about 125 km from the coastal city of Visakhapatnam.
The incident took place while they were returning from a programme at a village in Araku, a tribal area.
The TDP leaders were intercepted by a large group of armed Maoists, including women, while they were returning in two vehicles.
After ordering others to leave, they began talking to the MLA and the former MLA about the mining in agency areas. They later pumped bullets into the two leaders, killing them on the spot. Both were shot in the head and chest.
Senior police officials rushed to the spot. Police said both Rao and Soma had received threats from Maoists in the past.
Following the killings, police was put on high alert. Public representatives were advised to take precautions while visiting their respective constituencies.
Rao was elected from Araku on a YSR Congress Party ticket in the 2014 elections by defeating Soma of the TDP. In 2016, Rao switched loyalties to the TDP.
In July this year, tribals had protested against the MLA for allegedly obtaining mining lease in the name of his brother-in-law. They had alleged that quarrying of black stones was damaging the houses of tribals at Guda village.
Visakhapatnam DIG Srikanth said, “Around 20 members from CPI Maoist attacked them at around 12 pm, snatched the weapons from the PSOs and later fired at them. Both died on the spot. Reason behind attack yet to be ascertained.”
“We’re trying to ascertain facts from the PSOs. As per preliminary information, 20 Maoists were there with weapons and there may be some more in the neighbouring vicinity and they came along with the villagers,” he added. (Agencies)