A day after a ruling TDP MLA and a former legislator of the party were gunned down allegedly by Maoists in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam district on Sunday, Dumbriguda Sub Inspector Aman Rao has been suspended over the incident.
DGP RP Thakur issued the suspension orders after 45-year-old Sarveshwar Rao and his party colleague and former MLA 52-year-old Siveri Soma, were shot dead near Livitiput village in Dumbriguda mandal.
Following the killings, tension prevailed in Araku constituency as relatives and supporters of slain leaders attacked two police stations. Accusing the police of failing to protect public representatives, the protestors ransacked Araku and Dumbriguda police stations and set the furniture and other articles at the police station on fire.
According to sources, the sub-inspector has been suspended for ‘negligence of duties’ and for failing to curb the violence that broke out after the killings.
When asked if there was a larger security lapse that could have led to the killings, Visakhapatnam Rural SP Rahul Dev Sharma told TNM, "We have initiated a departmental enquiry and appropriate action will be taken once the report is submitted."
The police also said that the two politicians visited the area without informing the concerned officers in Visakhapatnam, though they had been warned just a few days ago.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister N. Chinna Rajappa said that a probe will be conducted to ascertain as to how Maoists managed to attack the two leaders despite the fact that their activities were under control for the last 4-5 years.
The CPI-Maoist was believed to have considerably weakened in its former stronghold on the Andhra-Odisha border in recent years following intensive police operations by both the states.
Security stepped up across state
Following the killings, police are on high alert in Andhra-Odisha border area and public representatives have been advised not to visit interior villages.
Senior police officials reviewed the situation. Additional forces including personnel of anti-Maoist force Greyhounds were rushed to the region for combing operations.
The police said that the vehicle of the politicians was intercepted by a large group of Maoists, who snatched weapons from three security guards and tied them along with the driver to trees. They threatened them with dire consequences if they tried to escape or resist.
Swamy, one of the security guards, later told the media that the Maoists spoke to both the leaders for nearly an hour about their involvement in mining in agency area which is reportedly threatening the livelihood of tribal persons.
The TDP leaders suggested that the matter could be resolved peacefully. However, an argument ensued and the Maoists opened fire on them, killing them on the spot. Both were shot in the head and chest.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Ch. Srikanth said that the crime occurred between noon and 1 pm about 15 km from the Odisha border.
Both Rao and Soma had received threats from Maoists in the past. The public representatives in the region were alerted by the police to be cautious while moving into the interior villages in view of the formation week celebrations of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist till September 27.