TDP leader hacked to death in Andhra Pradesh
Unidentified men attacked former legislator Suryapratap Reddy alias Suryudu around 3.30 am at Tadipatri railway station in Anantapur district.india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 15:47 IST
A leader of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was hacked to death in political violence in the Rayalseema region of Andhra Pradesh early on Tuesday, sparking violent protests by his supporters.
Unidentified men attacked former legislator Suryapratap Reddy alias Suryudu around 3.30 am at Tadipatri railway station in Anantapur district, about 340 km south of here.
Suryudu was attacked with sickles and other sharp-edged weapons as he came out of the railway station after alighting from the Hyderabad-Tirupati Venkatadri Express, police said. Minister for Agriculture Raghuveera Reddy was travelling by the same train to Tirupati.
According to the police, the gunman accompanying Suryudu opened fire but the killers managed to escape after throwing two bombs at the injured leader, resulting in his death.
Police suspect the killers were following Suryudu from Hyderabad. Inspector General of Police Rayalseema, N Sambasiva Rao said five special teams had been formed to track the culprits.
Tension prevailed in Tadipatri and surrounding areas as followers of Suryudu clashed with the police and forced shops to down shutters. The Police have imposed prohibitory orders in the area and sent additional forces to the region.
Suryudu, once a Congress leader and a former legislator from Dharmavaram constituency in Anantapur district, had joined TDP a few years ago. He fought the 2004 elections from the constituency against Congress candidate and now Minister for Panchayat Raj JC Diwakar Reddy.
TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has blamed Diwakar Reddy for the murder and demanded his dismissal.
He said Reddy was also an accused in the murder of TDP leader and former minister Paritala Ravi.
Ravi, who was involved in several criminal cases including murder, was shot dead Jan 24 last year in Anantapur town.
Naidu alleged that more than 90 leaders and activists of TDP were killed in Rayalseema region since the Congress came to power in the state in May 2004.
Rayalseema region, comprising Anantapur, Cuddapah, Kurnool and Chittoor, is notorious for political violence. Dozens of groups that enjoy the support of political parties have been active for decades.