Khammam: “The attack on forest range officer CH Srinivasa Rao took place in a fraction of seconds. I was shocked when two Gothikoyas approached him from the back side and he fell to the ground. Another Gothikoya sliced his neck,” section officer Rama Rao, who went along with the deceased FRO said.
Rama Rao said, “We noticed the cattle of Gothikoyas grazing in the plantation and asked the tribals not to disturb the plantation. Srinvasa Rao tried to take a video of the area in his cellphone and an argument took place.
“Immediately, a person came from Rao’s backside and attacked him by holding a sickle in his hand. Later, another person cut his throat with another sickle,” Rama Rao said.
The police, starting an investigation, are trying to find out whether there was a Maoist angle behind the brutal murder. Kothagudem DSP Venkateswara Baby, Chandrugonda CI Vasanth Kumar and SI Vijayalaxmi rushed to the spot and took ten persons into custody. Among these were the two who had murdered Srinivasa Rao.
The FRO’s throat was sliced 10cm deep as the doctors in a private hospital later testified.
The two assailants were Tholem Thoola and Nandu. When asked about the Maoist angle, Kothagudem DSP Venkateswara Babu said there was no such information so far. “We shall give more information on Wednesday,” he said.
Higher officials from Hyderabad are also monitoring the case. That the killing took place at a time when the government is trying to settle the podu land issue has embarrassed the state government. The slicing of the FRO’s neck came as a huge humiliation to the government.