At a time when the Maoist threat has effectively been contained across India including on the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border, the killing of two leaders of the Telugu Desam Party -- sitting MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao and former legislator Siveri Soma -- should be seen as an act of desperation by left wing terrorists. Intelligence agencies had warned both the leaders not to travel into interior villages where the Naxalites had not been fully exterminated as they had picked up chatter that there was pressure on the terrorists to show 'results' given they had been virtually cornered like rats by the security forces.
Unfortunately, the warning was not heeded though it is very difficult for those in public life not to be with the people. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the Centre, especially Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, has worked in close collaboration with the States to counter the Maoist menace both militarily and through a winning of hearts and minds strategy. The gunning down of the two TDP leaders has brought to the fore, however, the fact that a few niggling issues which if they remain unaddressed may prove to be a setback to India's battle against Red Terror. Implementation of policies which aim to take the fruits of development to the Maoist-hit tribal regions must be intensified, reports of atrocities on locals by police need quicker investigations and the forces must not rest on their well-deserved laurels but aim to ruthlessly wipe every terrorist who is unwilling to surrender and re-join the mainstream.