Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

The horrendous killing of Araku MLA Sarveswara Rao and former MLA S Soma by the Maoists has sent tremors of shock not just across the Telugu States but also the country. The act of killing two tribal leaders is undeniably condemnable. The two leaders—MLA Sarveswara Rao won in 2014 election as a YSRCP candidate and later joined the TDP while former MLA Soma lost the election as a TDP candidate— were travelling to a village to attend a government program.

Generally, the YSR Congress party MLAs would not be given funds to carry out welfare activities in their constituencies. But, if an MLA shifts loyalties to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on the request of Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, not only does the MLA gets crores of rupees of funds, but the MLA would be given a free license to exploit all natural resources and make money through corrupt practices. With the killing of Araku MLA's killing, this has been proven to be right. Analysts suggest that the onus of taking responsibility for the deaths would be on Chandrababu for encouraging unethical practices in politics.

The Araku incident reflects the failure of intelligence agencies in Andhra Pradesh. That the Maoists are freely moving on the roads of Araku speaks volumes about the weakness of AP police. The failure stems from the AP police's focus on trying to file cases against the YSRCP leaders and to protect the TDP leaders from their illegal activities getting exposed. Whom should the people depend on if the very police who should maintain the law & order and ensure citizen safety act as agents of the ruling party?

Ever since senior officer AB Venkateswara Rao began working closely with Chandrababu, he has been facing allegations which harmed his reputation. The officer has been harming his own reputation, yet, he has not advised Chandrababu on right and wrong. In the context of the Telangana Assembly elections, Chandrababu deployed an intelligence team in Hyderabad. The Telangana government has approved of the same. Some of the politicians went on to make abusive comments against Venkteswara Rao.

Why do we have this kind of a situation? Rather than reporting to the government issues relating to the irregularities of ruling party MPs and MLAs, terrorism and Maoist movements, the police officers are succumbing to the pressure of working for the service of those in power. Who should be considered responsible for the deaths of two people's representatives? Do we have a mechanism to trace the movements of the Maoists? What does the silence of the police when the relatives of the MLA attacked the police stations, suggest? Does their silence mean the police department has accepted their mistake?

We should also look at why the two leaders, who had a history of opposing Bauxite mining in the region, have changed their stances in TDP rule. It is learnt that the Maoists questioned the leaders about the kickbacks they received in return for joining the TDP from the YSRCP. However, some reckon that it would have been better if the Maoists had warned the leaders against indulging in such activities rather than killing the tribal leaders.

Interestingly, it was long argued that the Maoists would cause disturbances in society if Telangana achieved statehood. But, no Maoist activity has been reported in Telangana, while yesterday's ghastly incident occurred in AP. Chandrababu and the TDP leaders, who boast about of good governance in the State, do not have an answer on this issue. After the loss of two leaders, Deputy CM Chinarajappa did not even admit that it was the fault of the police. It is worrisome that the Naxal activities are expanding in the TDP rule.

It has to be said that the TDP government should be held responsible for encouraging the MPs and MLAs' illegal activities. Chandrababu, who often says that there would not be any compromise on maintaining public safety, should take responsibility for the killings of two leaders, one of whom is a sitting MLA.

Also Read: Negligence Of AP Police Led To Araku MLA Killing?