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PM reviews Khamman police firing

PM has sought details about the incident, in which seven Left activists were killed, from the chief minister.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON JUL 31, 2007 11:25 AM IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reviewed the Khammam police firing with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy and asked for details about the incident in which seven Left activists were killed.

The prime minister, who is in Hyderabad on a two-day visit to review the state's performance in various sectors, met the chief minister on Monday night at the Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the state governor.

Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR, was accompanied by Home Minister K Jana Reddy, the home secretary, director general of police and other top officials.

The review came amid increasing demand from Left parties, especially the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), to remove the chief minister in the wake of Saturday's police firing on its activists who were demanding land for poor people in Mudigonda in Khammam district.

Singh, who spoke to YSR over the phone before he landed in Hyderabad on Monday night, sought details of the incident. The chief minister reportedly told him that extremist elements had infiltrated into the agitation, leading to the firing.

He also said that Left parties encroached government plots at 1,400 places during the last three months, creating a law and order problem.

During the 30-minute meeting, Singh reiterated his government's commitment to address the needs of the poor and to its policy of distribution of surplus land among the needy.

The death toll in the police firing has mounted to seven with one of the injured succumbing to his injuries at the government-run Osmania Hospital in Hyderabad early on Tuesday.

Tight security arrangements have been made at the historic Jubilee Hall, where the prime minister is reviewing the state's performance in various sectors, especially agriculture and industry.

The Left parties have announced plans to take out a rally to the venue to bring their agitation to Manmohan Singh's notice. Policemen have been deployed on roads leading to the venue in large numbers to prevent any demonstration.

Leader of opposition and president of the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) N Chandrababu Naidu has begun a daylong fast at Indira Park in Hyderabad to protest the prime minister's "indifference" towards the victims of the police firing.

Naidu is demanding that Manmohan Singh visit Mudigonda to find out the facts and take action against the guilty. He alleged that the prime minister had not spoken a word condemning the incident even two days after the firing.

Demanding the chief minister's resignation, former chief minister Naidu said the Mudigonda incident was the fifth such incident since Congress came to power in 2004. He said the five incidents of police firing had claimed 23 lives so far.

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