Six members of a family, including a four-year-old and a six-month-old, were hacked to death in Juttada of Pendurti mandal on the outskirts of the city in the wee hours of Thursday. Police said the murders were committed by a lone assailant, whose family had a rivalry with the victims. The two families reside in the same locality, and the accused entered the victims’ residence when they were asleep, attacked them with a hunting scythe killing them instantly and later surrendered before the police.
The incident sparked tension with the victims’ relatives attacking the residence of the accused even as police forces were deployed in the village. According to the police, the families of Bammidi Ramana and Battina Appala Raju of Juttada had disputes since the past three years. The rivalry dates back to 2019 when Bammidi Ramana’s son assaulted Appala Raju’s daughter. In the complaint then, Appala Raju’s daughter alleged that Vijay, who was already married, called her to his house, gave soft drinks laced with sedatives, and molested her for nearly eight months. Pendurthi police had registered a case, and a charge sheet was filed against Vijay Kiran on January 31 of 2019.
It was also alleged that Vijay Kiran’s wife Usha Rani and some others blackmailed the woman by showing her private photos and demanded money. Later, the complainant’s brother, Bathina Vijay Prasad, who had seen Whatsapp messages on her phone, threatened Usha Rani and her family members with dire consequences. In return, Usha Rani also filed a complaint on August 20, 2018, alleging that Appala Raju and his family members, Srinu, Gowrish and Sanyasai, abused her in foul language and threatened to kill her husband.
After the complaints and counter complaints, Vijay Kiran relocated to Vijayawada and had been living with this family at Chuttgunta Colony. Vijay’swife and their two children went to Juttada recently to attend a family function. Vijay, however, stayed in Vijayawada. Appala Raju, who was waiting to exact revenge, attacked the family killing Ramana(57), Usha Rani(30), her son Uday (4), daughter Urvasi (six months old) and Vijaya’s aunts Allu Ramadevi(53) and Nakettlu Aruna (37).
Commissioner of Police Manish Kumar Sinha and other senior officials visited the village and reviewed the situation. Meanwhile, relatives of the victims staged a dharna demanding stringent action and non-bailable cases against all family members of Appala Raju. They did not allow the bodies of the victims to be taken for postmortem. Tension escalated as Vijay Kiran reached Juttada and vowed to avenge the killing of his family members. Even as police were deployed in the village, the angry locals ransacked the house of Appala Raju, whose family had fled immediately after the incident.