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Maoists target ex-CM Reddy
Three killed in Andhra Pradesh attack

Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 7
Maoists triggered a landmine blast today, targeting former Chief Minister N. Janardhan Reddy and his wife Rajyalakshmi, a state minister. They escaped unhurt but three persons were killed.

The explosion was set off at a culvert near Chitvedu village in Nellore district when the convoy of Congress leaders passed by.

The extremists, who used a remote device, missed the target by a few seconds as the Mercedes Benz, in which the Reddys were travelling, had just crossed the culvert when the explosion took place.

A vehicle carrying Congress activists took the full impact of the blast and was blown to smithereens. Two Congress workers and the driver died on the spot.

The attack took place when 72-year-old Reddy, now an MP from Visakhapatnam, was proceeding to Tirupati to receive an honorary degree from Sri Venkateswara University.

His cavalcade, comprising about 20 vehicles, left his native village Vakadu at 6.10 am and the attack took place about 15 minutes later.

Reddy, a Z category protectee, has been on the Maoist hitlist ever since his government had imposed a ban on the Naxal outfit in 1992.

The DGP, M.A. Basith, said the extremists could have planted the landmine under the recently constructed culvert a couple of weeks ago.

Surprisingly, the police party had checked and cleared the route nearly two hours before the convoy passed by.

The CM, Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, who cancelled his tour in his native district of Kadapa and rushed to the state capital to review the situation, said the attack was a reflection of the Maoists' desperation to prove their existence.

“We have been able to rein in Maoists in the past three years but they have resorted to this cowardly act only to prove that they still exist,” Reddy said.

Immediately after the blast, some policemen accompanying the convoy escorted Reddy and Rajyalakshmi to a safe place. The couple was then taken to Nellore.

Meanwhile, the BJP has condemned the attack and blamed the Congress-led state government’s soft policy for the incident.

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