Andhra Pradesh: Violent protest-arson over renaming of new district, minister-MLA’s house set on fire

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A police vehicle and an educational institution bus were torched by those protesting against the proposal to rename the district, the houses of ruling YSR Congress MLA from Mummidivaram P. Satheesh and Transport Minister P. Vishwaroop. The protesters pelted stones, in which several policemen were injured.

While the ruling party blamed unidentified forces for the arson, all opposition parties accused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government of “gross failure” to control the situation.

The opposition parties appealed to the people to exercise restraint and ensure peace in Konaseema.

State Home Minister T. Vanitha said around 20 policemen were injured in stone-pelting by the mob, while a school bus was torched by the protesters.

Prohibitory orders under section 144 have been imposed in Amalapuram. At the same time, additional police forces have been sent to bring the situation under control.

Eluru Range Deputy Inspector General of Police G. Pala Raju said that the police is trying to bring the situation under control. He said the injured policemen were “out of danger”.

Trouble started when the police allegedly stopped the leaders of Konaseema Sadhana Samiti from going to the district collector’s office and resorted to lathi-charge. These leaders were on their way to submit a memorandum against the renaming of the district.

The committee is opposing the proposal to rename the newly created Konaseema district to BR Ambedkar Konaseema district.

As soon as the police tried to disperse the leaders and workers of the committee, stone pelting started. Following this, shops in the town started shutting down, while the protesters allegedly created a ruckus and set a school bus on fire.

Later they went to the house of Transport Minister Vishwaroop and set it on fire. However, sensing the danger, the police had taken out the family members of the ministers safely by then. Later, the protesters targeted the residence of Mummidivaram MLA P. Satheesh and set it on fire.

Satish said, ‘It was very frightening when a mob of 1,000-1,500 people came and burnt our house. They were carrying petrol in bottles, which clearly indicates that they did all this intentionally.

However, he and his family were evacuated safely.

State Home Minister Vanitha told reporters at the secretariat in Amaravati that some parties and anti-social elements clearly instigated the arson. He said, ‘It is unfortunate that more than 20 policemen have been injured in the incident. We will thoroughly investigate the incident and take action against the culprits.

The Home Minister also blamed “some political parties and anti-social elements” for the violence. The violent protest was led by the Konaseema Sadhana Samiti (KSS), whose members called for a ‘Chalo Konaseema’ march.

Major opposition Telugu Desam Party, BJP, Jana Sena and Congress lashed out at the government’s blatant failure to control the Amalapuram situation.

Telugu Desam chief N. Chandrababu Naidu said in a statement, “It is unfortunate that the arson in Konaseema, which is known for peace. The Home Minister made baseless allegations on a delicate issue. This is a complete failure of the government and the police.

Jana Sena chief K Pawan Kalyan hit out at the Home Minister for blaming the opposition parties for the Amalapuram incidents.

State BJP president Somu Veeraraju strongly condemned the incidents and accused the government of failing to ensure peace. “The government should take responsibility for its failure to maintain peace in Konaseema,” he said.

State Congress President S. Shailjanath also held the government responsible for this.

On April 4, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy formally announced the formation of 13 new districts in the state, taking the total number of districts in the state to 26. Then Konaseema district was formed by separating it from the erstwhile East Godavari district.

Last week, the state government had invited objections from people by issuing a preliminary notification to rename Konaseema district to BR Ambedkar Konaseema district.

Vishwaroop said the proposal to rename the new district was based on the demand raised by all political parties. Against this background the Konaseema Sadhana Samiti objected to the proposed nomenclature of the district and wanted the name Konaseema to be retained.

(with input from news agency language)

Categories: India, Politics

Tagged as: Amalapuram Town, Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh Government, BR Ambedkar, CM Jaganmohan Reddy, Konaseema, Konaseema District, News, P. Satish, P. Viswaroop, The Wire Hindi, Violent Protests, ysr congress, YSR Congress Govt, YSRCP

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