High alert in Odisha’s Malkangiri after murder of MLA

Malkangiri: High alert has been sounded by the Odisha Police in Malkangiri district after Maoists killed an MLA and a former MLA of Andhra Pradesh about 15 km from the Odisha border yesterday.

Security forces in Koraput, Malkangiri and Rayagada districts which are close to Andhra Pradesh, have been directed to keep sharp vigil.

K. Sarveswara Rao, 45, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA from Araku (Reserved-Scheduled Tribe) and his party colleague and former MLA Siveri Soma, 52, were shot dead by Maoists near Thutangi village, about 125 km from the coastal city of Visakhapatnam, while they were returning from a programme at a village in Araku, a tribal area.

Their car was intercepted by a group of 40-50 Maoists, including women. After snatching weapons from three security guards, they 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 tribals.

The TDP leaders suggested that the matter could be resolved peacefully. However, an argument ensued and the Maoists opened fire on them from point-blank range, 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 p.m. about 15 km from the Odisha border. Both Rao and Soma had received threats from Maoists in the past.

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