India Official Dies in Air Crash
NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ The speaker of the Indian Parliament’s lower house was killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, a television channel reported.
G.M.C. Balayogi, his security guard and the pilot were killed when the helicopter hit a tree in fog just after taking off from the town of Bhimavaram, where Balayogi attended a rally, Star TV said.
Bhimavaram is about 845 miles southeast of New Delhi.
Police were not immediately available for comment.
It does not appear the crash was related to Hindu-Muslim violence in India’s western Gujarat state that has killed more than 400 people since Wednesday.
Balayogi, the speaker of the Lok Sabha, the decision-making lower house of Parliament, belonged to the regional Telugu Desam Party based in Andhra Pradesh.
Telugu Desam, a secular party, is the second largest member of the 21-party coalition government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.