Four held in Purushotham murder case

HYDERABAD, NOV. 27. Two surrendered naxalites - Khaja Nayeemuddin and Bayyapu Sammi Reddy - along with two `victims of PWG harassment' who were allegedly responsible for the ghastly murder of civil liberties activist T. Purushotham in the city on Thursday last have been arrested, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. S. R. Sukumara, said here on Monday.

Addressing a hurriedly convened press conference to announce the arrests, Mr. Sukumara said the arrested had different reasons to have grudge against Purushotham and the People's War Group (PWG). They were arrested while fleeing to Bangalore at around 11 a.m. Two hunting sickles, allegedly used by them in the sensational murder, were also recovered by a special police team constituted by the Government to track them.

Both Nayeem and Sammi Reddy are known to be the most vociferous critics of the PWG functioning and had earlier claimed that they were being 'targeted' by the PWG. The immediate provocation for them to kill Purushotham was stated to be the suspicion that the PWG had sent a team to kill them and that Purushotham was the mastermind behind it. The other two accused persons - Konda Vijaya Kumar and Nomula Srinivas both hailing from Bhongir, were stated to be `victims of PWG harassment' and followers of Aleemuddin, the slain brother of Nayeemuddin.

``We have killed Purushotham on our own since it was the question of our survival. Either we kill them or they kill us,'' Nayeem and Sammi Reddy told reporters later. They maintained that the PWG had been hunting them and they were literally pushed to the corner. Both were categorical in rejecting the APCLC charge that it was the police which had asked them to kill Purushotham.

The Commissioner said that the confession of the killers proved that the APCLC had been levelling such ``baseless, ill-founded and malicious'' statements only to demoralise the police.

The possibility of prosecuting the APCLC leaders for levelling baseless allegations was being explored. ``I do not think the police would join hands with such killers,'' was his remark when his attention was drawn to the APCLC charges.

The Commissioner said Nayeemuddin, an accused in the killing of DIG Vyas, had developed serious differences with his former jail colleague, Sakhamuri Appa Rao, over the alleged molestation of his sister by another surrendered naxalite Eedanna (who was subsequently hacked to death).

Nayeem developed a grudge since neither the PWG nor its representative in jail, Appa Rao, had initiated any 'action' against Eedanna. Sammi Reddy, a former DCM of Karimnagar, was targeted by the PWG which suspected him to be a police informant. Ever since, he had publicly vowed to work against the PWG.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. S. R. Sukumara, points to the accused persons in the killing of civil liberties leader Purushotham. Standing from left to right are Konda Vijaya Kumar, Nomula Srinivas, Bayyapu Sammi Reddy and Khaja Nayeemuddin. - Photo: K. Ramesh Babu.