AMALAPURAM: Section 144, prohibiting assembly of more than five persons, has been imposed on the town for three days following repeated clashes between two groups over damage of the statues of BR Ambedkar in the town and its surrounding villages by some miscreants on Sunday night.
Tension has gripped the town ever since the destruction of statues which invited widespread protests across the state.
Minister J Geeta Reddy, N Raghuveera Reddy and several others took up the issue with chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy who held a meeting with home minister P Sabita Reddy, DGP V Dinesh Reddy and other senior police officials.
Additional DGP Krishna Raju will supervise the investigation to be conducted by special teams into the incident and also bandobust in the town.
The chief minister directed the officials to reinstall the statues of Dr BR Ambedkar at government’s expense, while the home minister assured that miscreants would not be spared.
Amalapuram MP GV Harsha Kumar and Mala Mahandu state president K Sivaji met the chief minister and the home minister separately, and demanded a thorough probe and severe punishment to the culprits.
Ramachandrapuram DSP Srinivasa Rao has been appointed as special officer to probe the demolition of statues at Bandavaripeta, Bodasakurru, Chindada Garuva, Rollapalem and Nallavantena.
Additional police forces were rushed from Krishna and West Godavari districts to vulnerable areas in East Godavari district to prevent any untoward incidents.
Protesters came out in large numbers onto the roads demanding that the government identify the miscreants and punish them immediately.
Traffic was stalled for hours together on National Highway-214 and at Nallavantena, Erravantena, Idarapalli, Clock Tower and Y-Junction.
Later, the agitators demanded that traders close their shops.
Their demand led to heated arguments between traders and agitators.
Even before the police could reach the spot, groups of two communities pelted each other with stones and indulged in violence forcing the traders to shut their shops.
People of both the communities are staging a dharna at the Clock Tower Centre in Amalapuram and have refused to leave as advised by the police.
East Godavari superintendent of police C Trivikrama Varma rushed to Amalapuram and reviewed the situation.
Deputy inspector-general of police (Eluru range) G Suryaprakasa Rao is also camping in the town.
Speaking to Express, Amalapuram deputy superintendent of police Sridhar said members of the two groups positioned themselves 100 metres apart in a surcharged atmosphere but have refrained from attacking each other