Rebels strike back in Andhra

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Hyderabad
  • Published 8.03.05
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Hyderabad, March 8: Maoists today destroyed a telephone exchange and set ablaze three buses in rural Andhra Pradesh, avenging yesterday?s encounter killing of 11 activists.

The rebels have accused police infiltrators of drugging the activists before the encounter. ?The police had surrounded the hillock and waited till all had dinner to catch them off guard under the influence of drugged food,? said Maoist spokesperson P. Varavara Rao.

Nizamabad district police today conducted a post-mortem on the slain rebels. ?The post-mortem reports are open to all and, if necessary, we can conduct another post-mortem,? home minister K. Jana Reddy said.

The state police, who were jubilant after wiping out a major wing of the Maoists which was engaged in kidnappings, assassinations and extortion of funds, stopped Maoist sympathisers and senior civil rights activists on the outskirts of Hyderabad from reaching Nizamabad town.

The fresh upsurge of Maoist violence ? Gattippalapalli telephone exchange in Mahboobnagar district was destroyed and buses were burnt at a bus stand in Nalgonda district ? has scuttled Congress president Sonia Gandhi?s visit to Rajahmundry. Sonia is now slated to only visit Hyderabad on March 16.