Reality Check India

Cruisers RIP

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on May 1, 2006

This boat and its friend are no more. Hijacked and blown up in broad daylight (12 noon)  by naxalites on one of the most popular tourist destinations in AP.

Thank you for the many memories you provided to the wretched masses on the waters of the Nagarjunasagar.

nagarjunasagar2.gif

As usual no news channel has anything to say about it. We think it is a landmark terrorist act unmatched in its brazenness so far in India.

From Deccan Chronicle (May 1)

http://www.deccan.com/home/homedetails.asp

Naxals hijack Nagarjunasagar boats

Hyderabad, April 30:

In the first incident of its kind in the State, Maoists hijacked two tourists boats in the Nagarjunasagar reservoir carrying 234 tourists. They dropped the tourists on the Nagarjunakonda island, took the boats about 12 km upstream and blew them up. Hours later, the police killed four of the Maoists in an encounter. The drama lasting about five hours had officials on tenterhooks. They were expecting a retaliation from the Maoists for the encounter of April 28, in which nine extremists were killed in Kadapa district.

Naxals hijack Nagarjunasagar boats

Hyderabad, April 30:

In the first incident of its kind in the State, Maoists hijacked two tourists boats in the Nagarjunasagar reservoir carrying 234 tourists. They dropped the tourists on the Nagarjunakonda island, took the boats about 12 km upstream and blew them up. Hours later, the police killed four of the Maoists in an encounter. The drama lasting about five hours had officials on tenterhooks. They were expecting a retaliation from the Maoists for the encounter of April 28, in which nine extremists were killed in Kadapa district. 

Nagarjunasagar, about 135 km from here, is a popular weekend tourist spot. As such, both the boats were crowded. Tourists go to Nagarjunakonda on State tourism corporation boats, the island houses a museum of artefacts, mostly Buddhist relics, recovered from the area submerged by the reservoir. The boat ride lasts about 30 minutes.

At about 12.30 pm on Sunday, Motor Launches Shantisiri and Krishna carrying 234 tourists and nine crew members landed at the Nagarjunakonda jetty. Immediately, five Maoists, three of them in olive green and two of them in civilian dress, took control of the boats and asked the tourists to alight. There is no security presence on the island given its apparent remoteness. It is believed that the Maoists had sailed to the island probably the night before in puttis (small boats) and took over the boats when they berthed at the jetty. The crew members had walkie-talkies but they were not allowed to use it by the Maoists. The Maoists told the tourists that they were going to blow up the launches to protest the April 28 encounter. They asked the tourists not to alert the police through cellphones.

Then, they took away the launches along with the nine crew towards Srisailam, about 100 km upstream on the river Krishna. The Maoists reportedly told the crew that they would not harm them. Meanwhile, an advocate who was among the tourists informed the police, who alerted forces in the adjoining Mahbubnagar, Guntur and Nalgonda districts. The police began patrolling the river banks.
The Maoists berthed the launches at Kotha Pulla Reddy village in Veldurthy mandal of Guntur district, 12 km from Nagarjunakonda, released the crew members and blew up the boats.

Guntur superintendent of police Shivadhar Reddy told this correspondent that the crew members reached Macharla safely. Police sources said that the Maoists then crossed the river Krishna in a putty (small boat) and entered Mahbubnagar district and were moving towards Maddimadugu under Amarabad police station. Nalgonda superintendent of police Mahesh Bhagawat said that at that time, a Nalgonda district police party  was very close to the location and was directed by director-general of police Swaranjit Sen to ambush the Naxalites at Pedikalapendem. The exchange of fire took place at the village and the four Maoists were killed. The encounter took place at 6.40 pm, six kilometres northeast of Kotha Pulla Reddy village.  

“Luckily our parties were near the banks of the Krishna and they were directed to ambush the Maoists,” director-general of police Swarinjit Sen said. The tourists who were stranded on the island were brought back at 5 pm by the launches Vijayalakshmi and Agastya under tight security, ending the four-and-a-half hour drama. Nalgonda district collector Vijayanand, joint collector Sridhar, OSD Vishwa Prasad and Guntur SP Shivdhar Reddy camped at Nagarjunasagar. State tourism officials said the two boats cost Rs 2.5 crore. The crew members were identified as Dharma Rao, Rajesh, Lakshman, Tirumala Rao, Venkaiah, Srinivasa Babu, Venkateswarlu, Krishna Srinivaslu.

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