VIJAYAWADA: TDP chief and the Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu was put under house arrest today morning when he set out to take up ‘Chalo Atmakur’ protest march from his residence at Undavalli, Guntur district in protest against the alleged harassment of TDP cadre by the ruling YSRC party.
A large number of TDP leaders including former ministers and MLAs were put under house arrest or were taken into preventive custody by police across the state since early in the morning.
Condemning the arrests, Chandrababu Naidu described today as a dark day in democracy and decided to sit on fast at his residence itself till 8 p.m. Speaking to his party leaders in a teleconference, he expressed dismay over the ‘overbearing’ attitude of the State Government.
At 11 a.m. when he again started out from his residence to participate in Chalo Atmakur, the gates of his house were locked and tied with ropes by the police, who were deployed in large numbers. The TDP chief sat in his vehicle near the gate, while other TDP leaders including TDP state president K Kala Venkata Rao staged protest condemning the police action.
“Is it a democracy to stifle the voices which question the atrocities?” Naidu questioned and accused the police officials of even hindering the supply of food to those staying at the protest camps in Guntur.
Speaking to media at his residence, he said there is no compromise on ‘Chalo Atmakur’ and he will go to Atmakur when he is allowed. “What is happening today is most unfortunate. I have taken up Chalo Atmakur agitation to bring back the 545 families who were sent away from the respective villages in the Atmakur region of Guntur. There is no compromise on the issue,” he said.
TDP chief described police denying him and his party from supporting the 545 families sent away from their villages as a violation of the human rights and SC rights. He said it reflects the attitude of the government.
Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Goutam Sawang said TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu was put under house arrest as his actions were increasing tensions and creating disturbance to law and order in Palnadu region of Guntur district. He clarified that police have not taken Chandrababu Naidu into preventive custody for fighting against policies of the State Government.
Earlier, Naidu’s son and TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh was stopped at his residence in Undavalli when he started out to participate in Challo Atmakur. Party MLA Gadde Ramamohan was also taken into custody at the protest camp in Guntur.
Tension prevailed when TDP youth leader Devineni Avinash, TD Janardhan staged a sit-in at Undavlli caves protesting the house arrest of Chandrababu Naidu. Police, who were deployed in large numbers, arrested the protests and took them away from there.
When former minister and TDP deputy floor leader in the Assembly K Atchan Naidu was going to the residence of Chandrababu Naidu, he was detained mid-way and arrested amidst protest. Vijayawada MP Kesineni Nani was also arrested at Prakasam Barrage when he was going to the residence of Chandrababu Naidu.
Former Ministers Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, P Pulla Rao, K Sravan Kumar, and others were put under house arrest at their respective residences. Former Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya was detained at the hotel she was staying in Vijayawada. Several TDP leaders in the Palanadu region of Guntur district were bound over.
Sec 144 was imposed in the Guntur district and Sec 30 of Police Act was imposed in the Palanadu region. Additional forces were deployed at sensitive locations.
Permission was also denied to YSRC leaders when they got ready to take out ‘Chalo Amaravati’ protest to counter the TDP protest march. Some of the YSRC leaders including Mangalagiri MLA A Ramakrishna Reddy were also put under the house arrest as a precautionary measure. Police were deployed in large numbers at the YSRC party office in Guntur.
YSRC MLAs Ambati Rambabu, Gopireddy Srinivas Reddy, Kasu Mahesh, and others said they want to take out Challo Amaravati to counter the false propaganda of TDP. They said during five years rule of TDP in the state, YSRC party leaders were subjected to severe harassment and intimidation.