VISAKHAPATNAM: Around 300 people, including Telugu actor Sampoornesh Babu, were on Thursday detained by police here ahead of their proposed silent protest called for demanding special category status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh.
Resenting the restrictions imposed on their free movement, the youth resorted to arguments with police officials, leading to sporadic incidents of lathi charge. The protestors had given a call on Facebook and other social media platforms for a Jallikattu-style protest on the iconic Ramakrishna Beach.
To foil the proposed "silent beach protest", police on Wednesday imposed Section 144 of CrPc in the coastal city, banning any assembly of five or more people in an area.
YSRC leader Tammineni Sitaram was arrested in Pydi Bhimavaram in Srikakulam district. Several political and student leaders in North Andhra were taken into preventive custody on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, a few cops were seen carrying banners with slogans –“Anti-social elements are waiting for the opportunity - Please cooperate with police for peace - we are for your safety and security.”
The port city, which is hosting the Partnership Summit from Friday, is being fortified with large presences of security forces. Around 3000 security personnel were reported to be deployed in the city.
Additional forces were rushed from Ravulapalem in East Godavari district where they were deployed for preventing ‘Kapu Satyagraha Yatra’ by Mudragada Padmanabham. Since morning the beach road and more than half a dozen entry points were secured by over 1000 security personnel.
YSRC chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s convoy, which was waiting for his visit to the city, was seized and taken to Parawada police station. Actor Sampoornesh Babu and director Tammareddy Bharadwaj, who came to the city to extend solidarity to the youth demanding SCS, were detained when they tried to enter the Beach road. They were sent back to their hotel.
Pedestrians were discouraged in the morning from entering the beach. Locals have demanded to know why their movement has been restricted on a holiday. Most of the protestors are students from medical and engineering colleges.
Meanwhile, political leaders including YSRC leaders Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy and P Mithun Reddy were placed under house arrest in Tirupati while around 20 students were taken into custody.
In Vijayawada, around 40 students trying to stage protest were picked up by the police. Congress activists staged protest sporting black gags.
Filmstar and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan was the first to lend support to the call.
Kalyan on Thursday said the special package offered in lieu of the status was nothing but funds under different heads which are given to all states including Andhra Pradesh.
Reiterating that AP demands coveted SCS, he wanted Narasaraopet TDP MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao not to compromise on SCS for Polavaram project contract. He said that such business attitude had led to the popular belief in Telangana that Andhras are plunderers.
Pawan Kalyan also took a dig at Union Minister of Science and Technology YS Chowdary for comparing the fighting spirit of youth with pigs fights and said such loose talk will further instigate the youth.
Lauding all those who participated in the movement for SCS, he demanded the unconditional release of all those arrested including Jana Sena activists.
(With PTI inputs)