TRAGIC END: Relatives of K. Nageswara Rao weeping inconsolably in the Kondaparthy forest area in Warangal district on Saturday. — Photo: M. Murali
HYDERABAD: The police killed two civilians and injured another in separate incidents in Warangal and Medak districts late on Friday night. Admitting that the deaths were unfortunate, senior police official said they were mainly a result of mistaken identity.
In a third instance on Saturday afternoon, the police seemed to have got their target right when they shot dead Atram Hanmanthu alias Karan (40), commander of the Narnoor dalam of CPI (Maoist), in an exchange of fire in Adilabad district. Two .303 rifles, one sten gun, gelatine stick and kit bags were recovered from the site near Parda village in Kerameri Mandal. Two other Maoists escaped from the scene of the encounter.
Caught in a crossfire
The police claimed that Marri Lava Kumar (19), a farmer of Boppapur village in Dubbaka mandal in Medak district, was killed when he was caught in a crossfire. They said two police parties under Dubbaka Sub-Inspector Chandrasekhar and Bhumpalli Sub-Inspector Raju rushed to the village on information that eight dalam members were holding a meeting. In the firing that ensued, the youth was killed.
Villagers, who had a totally different story to tell, organised a rasta roko at Bhumpally crossroads. They said the police mistook farmers to be naxalites when they were going on their bicycles to water their fields as power supply was available only at dead of night. TRS MLAs– Padma Devender Reddy and S. Ramalinga Reddy– who called on the family of the dead, attributed the incident to erratic power supply.
Heart-rending scenes were witnessed near Kondaparthy village in Warangal where family members of K. Nageswara Rao found his body lying in a pool of blood. It was a similar story with the police saying that the civilian was killed during combing operation taken up in the wake of an earlier encounter. The police challenged a group of persons to disclose their identity and opened fire when the latter tried to flee. While Rao died on the spot, another villager, Laxman, sustained bullet injuries in the chest. Hundreds of villagers rushed to the spot and assaulted the policemen present there with sticks and stones accusing them of killing innocents.
Director-General of Police Swaranjit Sen described the incidents as a `mistake’ but not the fault of the police. Medak SP B. L. Sujantha Rao said Rs. 5 lakhs would be paid to the kin of Lava Kumar.