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Naidu petitions rights panel on political killings

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 24. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) today urged the National Human Rights (NHRC) to look into the killings of partymen and alleged that the Rajasekhara Reddy Government's "attitude'' was resulting in increase in crime.

Expanding his area of political attack, the TDP president, N. Chandrababu Naidu, demanded that the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, visit Andhra Pradesh and see for herself the "deteriorating law and order situation'' in the State.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Naidu said Ms. Gandhi should visit Andhra Pradesh, recalling that only recently she expressed concern over the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress was supporting the Samajwadi Party-led Government from outside. "Let her come and see for herself the situation in the State governed by the Congress,'' he added.

In a petition to the NHRC, Mr. Naidu listed the events since the advent of the Congress Government. The party said that 35 of its workers had been done to death in recent months with Anantapur district alone accounting for half of them.

Charter of demands

Mr. Naidu said the NHRC Chairman, A.S. Anand, had asked his Director- General to prepare a report. The TDP urged that besides conducting a probe into the incidents, the State Government should be directed to grant immediate interim relief to victims or their family members, direct suspension of some senior police officials of Anantapur, ask the State Government to dismiss the Panchayat Raj Minister, J.C. Diwakar Reddy, who belongs to the area, to enable an impartial probe and take action against officials found guilty.

Lashing out at the Congress Government and the Chief Minister, the TDP chief said Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy's attitude of describing these murders as retaliation and past enmity was "encouraging'' those indulging in violence. He said the TDP had raised the issue both in the Assembly and Parliament but to no avail.

Mr. Naidu's former Cabinet colleagues, K. Vijaya Rama Rao and Devender Goud, and MPs, K.Yerrannaidu, C. Ramachandraiah, K. Rama Mohana Rao, Laljan Basha, S. Rama Muni Reddy, Ravula Chandrasekhara Reddy, N.P. Durga were present at the press conference.

Congress denies charges

The Congress, however, refuted the charges. At a separate press conference, the Congress MPs -- Nandi Yellaiah, G.V Harsha Kumar -- and the former MP, Mallu Ravi, said the State Government was aware of the situation and had appointed a commission of inquiry to go into it.

They said during that more Congress workers were murdered during the TDP regime. However, he said, the incidents were not political murder. The Commission of Inquiry had been asked to identify acts of violence in Anantpur district since 1990 together with the causes, including factionalism, extremism and political motivation.

The Commission had also been asked to examine the adequacy of response of law enforcement agencies to such incidents, to identify other factors responsible for the persistence of violence and to suggest measures to curb such acts of violence and improve the law and order situation. It had been asked to submit its report in three months.

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