The mayor of Chittoor and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) party leader Katari Anuradha and her husband died in an attack after unidentified people reportedly opened fire and stabbed the couple multiple times.
The incident occurred at the Chittoor Muncipal Corporation office on Tuesday morning after Burqa clad men attacked the couple, leaving the mayor dead and her husband Katari Mohan in a critical condition.
While Katari Mohan was immediately operated upon, he did not manage to survive the night and succumbed to his wounds.
According to The Hindu:
Four members of the gang, three of them clad in black burqas, barged into the chamber despite the attendant at the door objecting to their entry. Two other assailants were waiting on the corporation office balcony. On entering the chamber, they stabbed Katari Mohan (sitting besides his wife) with a knife in the neck and stomach. When he ran into the adjoining council room, they fired at him, hitting him in the stomach. Later, the assailants attacked Anuradha. One of them shot her twice in the head and knifed her in the stomach.
Police reached the spot and are establishing if the mayor was a victim of a faction war. They also suspect that the real target of the protest was Mohan.
It is important to note that the mayor and her husband had held protests last year after the police arrested Katari Mohan's brother-in-law and accused him of attempting to murder former MLA C K Babu.
There is a long history between C K Babu and the Katari family.
A report in the Times of India adds:
Anuradha and Mohan are said to have several rivals and the police are investigating if the murder was due to any political, family or faction rivalry. The attack led to tension in Chittoor district, native of chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, with the supporters of Anuradha resorting to arson. They targeted the property of suspects. Police beefed up security in the faction-ridden Rayalaseema region after the incident. The police imposed prohibitory orders in Chittoor town and posted pickets in sensitive areas.
On December 28, 2005, Katari Mohan, now Chittoor district TDP vice-president , survived an attack with knives and iron rods in Chittoor and alleged that Babu was behind the attack.
An Additional Assistant Sessions Court later acquitted Babu and seven of his supporters in a case of attempt-to-murder of senior TDP leader, as the prosecution could not prove that the accused were guilty.
In 2007, there was an attempt to murder Babu, who escaped narrowly when his followers overpowered and threw out an assailant who aimed a revolver at him.
Babu who has escaped several assassination attempts has a record dating back to 2002 when it was alleged that he was involved in a gory murder after he abducted the 22-year-old son of a TDP leader and burnt him to death in Chittoor.
Speaking on the murder, TDP MP Gali Muddu Krishnama Naidu told TV9 "What happened is shocking and we condemn the incident. An investigation should take place. It is too early to comment further."
A case has been registered and police are looking into the incident. Further details are still awaited.