Kapu stir leader Padmanabham threatens indefinite fast

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Hyderabad, Feb 1: Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham, whose stir for inclusion of the community in Backward Class category turned violent, today threatened to sit on an indefinite fast.

"...I will continue the indefinite fast even if I am put in jail. The government is conspiring to create a terrible atmosphere and to defame Kapu community," he told reporters in his native East Godavari district.

Kapu protest

He held "bad elements" encouraged by ruling TDP for the violence that erupted at Tuni in the district yesterday, and alleged that the TDP government tried to suppress his agitation by creating obstacles to the public meeting.

"Is this state their estate?" he asked. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N Chinna Rajappa and Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana condemned the Padmnabham's comments.

The government let buses used for the public meeting yesterday, Chinna Rajappa said. Alleging that Padmanabham incited people in the public meeting, they both held him responsible for the violent incidents.

Though the Congress government led by K Vijayabhaskar Reddy in 1990s issued orders providing reservation to Kapus, the orders were not clear, Chinna Rajappa said.

Noting that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is committed to provide quota to the community as promised by TDP, they said the government constituted a commission headed by a retired judge to go into the issue.

At least 15 policemen, including a senior district police officer, were injured yesterday when a stir by Kapu community members seeking reservation under Backward Class category turned violent as the agitators went on rampage, set four coaches of Ratnachal Express on fire at Tuni station and blocked the National Highway-16 in East Godavari district.

The protesters withdrew the blockade on the national highway, connecting Kolkata and Chennai, late last night. Earlier yesterday, the agitators gathered at Tuni to attend a public meeting addressed by Padmanabham, pelted the engine of the train with stones and also attacked police personnel, before ransacking the railway station. Some bogies were also set ablaze.

However, no passenger was injured in the incident as they had alighted from the train before it was set on fire.

PTI

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