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Naxalites kill hostage constable

Hyderabad, Aug. 30: Constable Chittibabu, who was abducted by the People’s War Group last week, was killed last night.

M. Balakrishna, secretary of the PWG’s Andhra-Orissa border special zone, wrote to Visakhapatnam-based newspapers last evening justifying the killing.

Chittibabu, who was kept hostage for five days, “worked as an agent of the police”, the letter alleged.

“The same fate will come upon all police constables and officers who participate in the combing and anti-Naxalite operations in the state,” it added.

Three other constables kidnapped with Chittibabu had been released. Balakrishna said Chittibabu was tried at a praja durbar (people’s court) in the Chintapalli forest and “sentenced” to death. His body was delivered to the residents of Kokkirapalli village, on the way to Paderu.

The PWG also warned the government and police officials against harassing tribals for supporting the outfit’s cause.

With the killing of Chittibabu sending shockwaves across the state, an all-party meeting today called for a fresh initiative from the government to resume talks with the PWG.

Representatives of the Congress, the BJP, the CPI, the CPM and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi met to explore possibilities of breaking the deadlock and appealed to the government and the Naxalite group to “sincerely work” towards resumption of the dialogue.

The ruling Desam was conspicuous by its absence at the meeting convened by the Committee of Concerned Citizens comprising politicians, academics and journalists.

The parties felt that there was no alternative to talks and were unanimous in condemning violence, committee members told a news conference.

State Congress president M. Satyanarayana Rao, BJP spokesman P. Prabhakar, the state secretaries of the CPI and the CPM and the TRS chief attended the meeting.

Senior police officials, including the inspector general, returned to Hyderabad today in a chartered helicopter after a weeklong stay at Vishakpatnam.

The PWG, which convinced the police of dialogue, had prepared the ground for a negotiator even as it had decided to kill Chittibabu.

Chittibabu had already been murdered by the time the government selected Venkat Ramana, the mandal praja parishad president of Madugula, as their emissary. Ramana, who set off yesterday, came back in the evening and asked for the withdrawal of policemen from the area so that he could go deep into the forest. However, the police realised later that the PWG had used the opportunity to escape into safer zones.

Chittibabu’s killing is the second such incident in three years. The PWG had killed a young mandal president in Karimnagar district, Malhar Rao, in the 1990s. The mandal was later named after Rao.

Although there have been nearly eight cases of kidnap, most hostages had been released. The latest incident was the abduction of a relative of BJP leader and Union minister of state for home Vidhyasagar Rao.

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