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Curfews Imposed After Violent Mobs Protest Legislator’s Death

December 27, 1988

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Police imposed curfews in 23 towns of a southern state Tuesday, a day after mobs angered by the slaying of a state legislator set fire to buildings and vehicles, news reports said.

At least 32 people were killed and 100 injured in Monday’s violence in Andhra Pradesh state, United News of India reported.

The rampage was brought under control after police opened fire into the crowds, the report said.

The violence was set off by the slaying of V. Mohan Ranga Rao, a legislator of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress Party. Assailants with axes killed him and two of his supporters in a pre-dawn attack Monday in Vijaywada, about 860 miles south of New Delhi.

Rao, who was on a hunger strike to protest police harassment, had a feud with a political rival belonging to the Telugu Desam Party that governs the state, the New Delhi edition of The Hindu newspaper said.

After the slaying, angry mobs rampaged and set fire to buses, cinemas, shops and hotels in Vijaywada and four neighboring towns, United News said. At least 17 of the victims died when police opened fire on the crowds, it said.

The state on Tuesday observed a strike called by the Congress Party to protest the legislator’s death.

Hundreds of paramilitary troops were deployed to control any resurgence of violence and police were ordered to shoot curfew violators, the news agency said.

On Monday, supporters of the Congress Party attacked the homes of senior Telugu Desam leaders in the state capital, Hyderabad, the agency said. There were no reports of casualties.

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