Andhra: Violence over renaming a district; minister's house set on fire
Amaravati, May 24: The residence of Andhra Transport Minister Pinipe Viswarupu was set on fire by protesters in Amalapuram town after the police resorted to lathi-charge at people who sought to stage a protest near the district Collector's office opposing the proposed renaming of the newly-created Konaseema district as B R Ambedkar Konaseema district.
However, the minister's family has been shifted to safety by the police.
Several policemen have sustained injuries as protestors pelted stones following the lathi-charge. A police vehicle and an educational institution's bus were torched in the town.
#WATCH | MLA Ponnada Satish's house was set on fire by protestors in Konaseema district in Andhra Pradesh today, the protests were opposing the naming of the district as Dr BR Ambedkar Konaseema district pic.twitter.com/XzJskKqhz3— ANI (@ANI) May 24, 2022
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were clamped in Amalapuram even as additional police forces were rushed in to bring the situation under control. Eluru Range Deputy Inspector General of Police G Pala Raju, who rushed to Amalapuram, said they were observing restraint and trying to bring the situation under control. He said the injured police personnel were "not in danger."
The office of Transport Minister Pinipe Viswarupu was also attacked and furniture smashed. Home Minister Taneti Vanitha alleged that some political parties and anti-social elements apparently instigated the arson.
"It is unfortunate that over 20 police personnel sustained injuries in the incident. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and bring the culprits to book," the Home Minister said.
Principal opposition Telugu Desam Party, BJP, Jana Sena and the Congress hit out at the government over its gross failure in controlling the Amalapuram situation. "The arson in Konaseema, known for its peace, is unfortunate.
The Home Minister made baseless allegations on a delicate issue. This is completely a failure of the government and the police," Telugu Desam chief N Chandrababu Naidu said in a statement.
Jana Sena chief K Pawan Kalyan lashed out at the Home Minister for blaming the opposition parties over the Amalapuram incidents. "It is nothing but an effort to cover up the government's failure in maintaining law and order. The ruling party is only seeking to push the blame on to the opposition to cover its failures," Kalyan said.
State BJP president Somu Veerraju strongly condemned the incidents and blamed the government for failing to ensure peace. "The government should take responsibility for its failure to maintain peace in Konaseema," he added. State Congress president Sake Sailajanath too blamed the government over this. Former Director General of Police V Dinesh Reddy, too, found fault with the police.
"Instead of blaming I can say it is failure of police. (When I was) DGP of combined AP, such incidents were never allowed to boomerang on this scale," Dinesh Reddy said in a social media post. He recalled that he worked as SP of the erstwhile East Godavari district for a long period and people of Konaseema were found to be peace-loving. "I am shocked at the turn of events," he added.
The new Konaseema district was carved out of the erstwhile East Godavari On April 4. the state government issued a preliminary notification seeking to rename Konaseema as BR Ambedkar Konaseema district and invited objections, if any, from the people. However, the Konaseema Sadhana Samiti objected to the proposed renaming of the district and demanded that the name Konaseema retained.
The Samiti held a protest on Tuesday and sought to submit a memorandum to the district Collector Himanshu Shukla against the renaming. As the cops tried to foil the protest, the protesters got infuriated and eventually all hell broke loose in the otherwise quiet town. PTI