Left wing extremism: Maoists strike in Khammam, abduct local TRS leader
HYDERABAD: Maoists struck in Telangana after four years, kidnapping a TRS leader at gunpoint from his residence in Cherla mandal in Khammam district — close to Chhattisgarh border — in the late hours of Monday. Maoists had kidnapped six TRS leaders from the same Cherla mandal in Nov 2015 to stop police from combing Telangana-Chhattisgarh forest area, a hotbed of left-wing extremism (LWE) in the country.
A group of 15 Maoists descended on the house of 45-year-old Nalluri Srinivas Rao, a former MPTC member, in Kothur village at around 10.15 pm and took him away, police said on Tuesday.
Confirming that Maoists had taken away Srinivas, district superintendent of police Sunil Dutt said: “We learnt that the former MPTC member was kidnapped over moneylending and land dispute issues.” A kidnapping case has been registered.
Police, during investigation, found out that Sodi Jogaiah and Rajitha dalam of the Maoist party was behind the kidnapping of Srinivas, who has control over 50 acres of podu agricultural land in Kothur, 6 kilometres from Chhattisgarh border. Podu is a traditional system of cultivation used by tribals whereby they clear forest areas by burning them to provide land for sowing crops.
Police have formed special teams to trace Srinivas. Assistant SP (Bhadrachalam) Rajesh Chandra, said some of them carried firearms, while others carried sticks. “Three Maoists entered Srinivas’s house, while the others stood guard outside. Family members said they introduced themselves as Maoists before taking away Srinivas,” Chandra said.
Asserting that Srinivas is very much in the custody of rebels, Chandra said: “His phone is switched off but we are following up the case. We are also coordinating with Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh police.” Srinivas served as MPTC of Peddamidiselaru in the past.
Srinivas’s wife Durga said the Maoists roughed up her husband before dragging him out of the house. “I repeatedly asked them as to why they were taking away my husband, but they did not respond. They hit me with sticks. They also hit my son when we tried to stop them. They were carrying guns,” Durga said.
Durga said her husband had only helped people. “I appeal to Maoists to release my husband,” Durga said. However, it is learnt that Maoists accused Srinivas of grabbing the land of Girijans and Adivasis and extending crop loans to them at exorbitant rates.
Police said around 300 villagers of Cherla had crossed over to Chhattisgarh and spoken to the informants of Maoists, asking them to release Srinivas immediately.