ANANTAPUR: One person was killed, three others were severely injured and nearly 30 vehicles were either set afire or damaged in renewed violence in Chinnapolamada village of Tadipatri mandal on Sunday.
The inmates of Swamy Prabodhananda ashram attacked the villagers with stones and iron rods and even hurled petrol bombs at those who gathered outside the ashram protesting against Saturday night’s attack.
Clashes broke out between the inmates of ashram and villagers of Chinnapolamada and Peddapolamada during Ganesh idol immersion procession leading to large scale violence and arson. On Sunday morning, the villagers gathered in large numbers and tried to force their way into the ashram though a huge police force from neighbouring Chittoor district led by SP SV Rajasekhara Babu, was posted at the ashram and in the village to prevent further clashes.
When the villagers reached the ashram entrance, the followers of Swamy Prabodhananda attacked them. Police caned the protestors and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the clashing villagers and the ashram inmates. The situation went out of control when MP JC Diwakar Reddy, who was protesting against the ‘failure’ of the police in preventing clashes, reached the ashram.
Village tense after clashes
Fakeerappa (35) of Chinnapolamada died in the clashes and 12 others suffered severe injuries. The condition of four of the injured is said to be critical. A huge police force has been deployed at the ashram to prevent further clashes between the inmates and villagers.
He was initially stopped on the outskirts of Tadipatri. But the MP picked up an argument with the police officials and without heeding to their advice reached the village. The villagers erected a tent in front of the ashram and staged the protest. Some of them pelted stones at the ashram. The inmates, numbering around 2,000 who congregated for the recently celebrated Janmashtami festival, retaliated and they hurled stones, empty soda bottles and even petrol bombs at the villagers. The inmates came out of the ashram, pulled down the tent and attacked the protesting villagers indiscriminately with sticks and iron rods.
According to reports reaching the district headquarters, the ashram inmates set afire some two-wheelers and damaged several vehicles and also hurled stones on the convoy of MP Diwakar Reddy. One vehicle got damaged in the attack. Sensing that the situation was turning worse, the police forcibly shifted the MP from the village. The MP staged a protest in front of the III Town police station against the police action. Speaking to media, Diwakar Reddy held the police responsible for the violence and arson. He made scathing remarks against the police force.
“The police have failed miserably to control the violence. Why are they not daring to enter the ashram and arrest the accused?’’ he questioned. He left the police station late in the evening.
Tadipatri DSP Vijay Kumar said Fakeerappa (35) of Chinnapolamada died in the clashes and 12 others suffered severe injuries. The condition of four of the injured is said to be critical. The situation, however, remained tense in the village. A huge police force was deployed at the ashram to prevent further clashes between the inmates and villagers.