KAKINADA: Amidst high tension, Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham on Thursday launched his indefinite hunger strike at his residence in Kirlampudi, demanding release of youth arrested in connection with the Tuni violence. However, he was arrested by the police within a few hours and shifted to Rajamahendravaram after he reportedly attempted to consume pesticide in a bid to commit suicide.
High tension pervaded the non-descript village of Kirlampudi since Thursday morning. The police forces were deployed in a large number in the village especially at Mudragada's residence. All routes leading to Kirlampudi were barricaded by the authorities and the vehicles moving from Visakhapatnam and West Godavari towards Kirlampudi in East Godavari were checked. At least 10 checking points were arranged at different locations on these routes. Around 50 persons who were going to extend their support to Mudragada were taken into custody, while several other local leaders were reportedly house-arrested.
As time ticked and tensions mounted, Mudragada along with his wife started the indefinite hunger strike by 9 am, and challenged the police to arrest him but only after producing relevant FIR and chargesheet copies of the Tuni violence on January 31. "If you try to evict us forcibly. I will commit suicide by consuming pesticide," he said and went inside his residence before locking up himself in a room.
Top police officials including Eluru range DIG PVS Ramakrishna, East Godavari SP M Ravi Prakash and other top officials held talks with Mudragada to stop him from launching the hunger strike but in vain. Police surrounded the house and extra forces were deployed in and around Kirlampudi in a large number. Initially, the police took control over Kirlampudi village and restricted the movement of the locals particularly those who tried to reach the residence of Mudragada. The media was also restricted from going closer to Mudragada's house at around 2 pm onwards.
Minutes later, the police have reportedly broke opened the doors of his residence and arrested him before shifting him to a hospital in Kakinada. Meanwhile, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu told newsmen in Kadapa on Thursday that preliminary investigations revealed that some outsiders were involved in the violence at Tuni. "Mudragada organised a meeting on Kapu reservations but some outsiders have sneaked into the crowd and triggered the violence by setting the train on fire," he said. The chief minister reasserted that the government will not tolerate any violence particularly law and order. "We have constituted a committee to look into the Kapu reservations as well as established a corporation for their welfare besides allocating special funds," he pointed out.