Violent protests broke out in Andhra Pradesh on Monday after Maoists killed two Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, one of them an MLA, on Sunday.
TDP's Araku MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao and former MLA of the same constituency Siveri Soma were shot dead while returning from an event in Araku valley.
NDTV reported that angry locals set fire to police stations in Dumbri Guda and Araku in the aftermath of the assassination of the two leaders.
The cars of the two leaders were reportedly stopped by an group of armed Maoists, who spoke to the leaders for a short time before shooting them at point-blank range.
While eyewitnesses have said that the Maoists argued with the leaders over the issue of mining in the area, some tribal leaders have claimed that this was a message by the Maoists to the government of the state.
The Indian Express quoted Girijana Sangham Secretary P Appalanarasa as saying, "The Maoists wanted to make a statement because the Andhra Pradesh government has been claiming that Maoists have been eradicated from the state. The ruling party MLA and former MLA became soft targets of a counter attack. Maoists may have also wanted to send a message to the Centre after the arrest of P Varavara Rao and other activists."
Appalanarasa also told the newspaper that Maoists had never killed anyone in the state earlier over mining.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu condoled the death of the leaders saying:
Deeply saddened by the demise of Araku MLA Kidari Sarveswara garu and former MLA Siveri Soma Rao garu, who were attacked by Maoists.— N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) September 23, 2018
The Maoists also reportedly snatched weapons carried by the security personnel of the leaders and escaped using human shields, NDTV reported.
The Araku valley had been reportedly free of violence of this nature for four years before Sunday's murders shattered the calm.
The police have said that the Maoists had declared this week as formation week, and that political leaders had been asked not to venture into Maoist areas.