30 October, 2020

Turf Turns Turtle

'Political killings' rage on in an Andhra district as Congress wrests control

Turf Turns Turtle
It's been four months since Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy replaced Chandrababu Naidu as chief minister in Hyderabad, but in rural and small-town Andhra Pradesh, a bloody tug-of-war for political supremacy still rages. Following the change in government, there have been about 40 political murders. Most of the victims belong to the Telugu Desam Party, which is accusing the Congress of launching a systematic attack on its supporters. It alleges that 35 of its workers have been bumped off. The Congress says the TDP is trying to discredit it by putting a political spin on every local or personal feud.

The truth lies somewhere in between. "There could be a discrepancy of numbers but the fact is a lot of TDP people are being killed. Nine years is a long time to be out of power and the Congress wants its revenge," says human rights activist K. Balagopal. The worst hit district is Anantapur where the TDP claims 16 of its followers have been bumped off, followed by five murders in Reddy's own stronghold Cuddapah, where four people travelling in a bus were lynched. Mahboobnagar has also...


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