The faction feud of Rayalaseema region, recently portrayed in Ram Gopal Varma's film Rakta Charitra, reared its ugly head once again on Monday when unknown assailants shot dead local strongman Rayalaseema Muddelachervu Suri alias Suryanarayana Reddy in Hyderabad on Monday evening. Suri was also a prime suspect in the killing of Telugu Desam legislator Paritala Ravindra.
Suri was rushed to the nearby Apollo Hospital, where he slipped into a coma and died at around 8 pm.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner A K Khan said that Suri was shot on Road No. 13, Jubilee Hills, while he was returning to his residence in Navodaya colony after meeting his advocate in Sanatnagar.
It appears from the statement of the driver of Suri's car that another person riding in the same car opened fire from behind and the bullets hit him on the head and the back. Five bullets were fired at Suri, said the police.
Incidentally, Suri's personal security guards, who usually follow him in another car, were not with him at the time of the attack.
Khan said that special police teams have been constituted to search for the assailant. According to the police, a settlement dispute could be the reason behind the attack.
Suri had allegedly revived his faction and settlement activities in Anantapur, Vijaywada and other places after his release.
Suri and Paritala Ravi had a long-running feud in Anantapur, which had taken on a political colour after Ravi joined the Telugu Desam Party under the active patronage of its patriarch NT Rama Rao. Suri's family has traditionally supported the Congress.
The enmity grew further when Ravi allegedly killed the family members of Suri in a bomb explosion. In retaliation, Suri tried to eliminate Paritala in a car bomb attack outside a film studio in Hyderabad in 1996. Though the TDP MLA managed to escape the attack, 26 of his supporters were killed in the blast.
Suri and 14 others were convicted and sentenced to life and several of his supporters were killed in the continuing violence between the two factions.
In a dramatic attack on January 25, 2005, unknown assailants killed Paritala Ravi in a bomb attack outside TDP office in Anantapur. Though Suri was the prime suspect in the attack, the police could not prove anything as he was behind bars at that time.
Later, another accused in the case Muddu Srinu alias Julakanti Srinivas Reddy was killed inside the jail in mysterious circumstances.
Suri was released from Charalpally jail after his sentence was commuted by the state government on grounds of good behaviour.
The police have sounded an alert in Anantapur district, fearing revenge attacks by Suri's supporters.