KAKINADA: The protest against renaming Konaseema after Dr B R Ambedkar turned violent with a mob setting ablaze the residences of Transport Minister P Viswarup and M Mummidavaram MLA P Satish in Amalapuram town, and several vehicles on Tuesday.
The violent incidents left 20 police personnel, including a DSP, injured. A protestor, too, was injured. Hundreds of youngsters reportedly belonging to a newly formed outfit, ‘Konaseema Parirakshana Samithi’, defied prohibitory orders and took to the streets, indulging in arson and rioting. The organisation was formed after the government issued an order on May 19, proposing to rename Konaseema district and inviting objections, if any in 30 days.
The men took out a rally from Subakalasam Centre to the district collectorate, but was prevented by the police citing the Section 144 CrPC that was promulgated on Monday. A heated argument ensued between the police and the agitators, who broke through the barricades and continued their rally.
The mob resorted to stone pelting when the police took some of the protestors into custody and shifted them to a bus. The policemen were injured in the incident. The mob also targeted the vehicle of district SP Subba Reddy.
Police resorted to lathi-charge but the agitators continued pelting stones and their march. At the district collectorate, three private buses and two APSRTC buses were set on fire. Meanwhile, a group of protestors went to the transport minister’s residence-cum-camp office and set his house and three cars on fire.
They set ablaze another house belonging to the minister. They also set MLA Satish’s house on fire. Just before the protestors reached Viswarup’s house, police had shifted him and his family to safety. Additional forces from Kakinada were brought to Amalapuram to bring the situation under control.
“Additional forces have been deployed and the situation is now under control. We will ensure that there is no more law and order disruption. All those involved in the riots seem to be people from Amalapuram town. Based on CCTV and video footage, we will identify those involved in arson and stone pelting and take stern action against them,” Eluru Range DIG G Pala Raju told reporters.
Urging the people to maintain restraint, the officer directed the youth not to resort to anti-social activities and jeopardise their future. Asked if they have identified those behind the riots, Palraju said they have some clues, but were still investigating. Terming the riots a conspiracy by some forces to create unrest in the State, Home Minister Taneti Vanitha said trouble-mongers would be dealt with an iron fist.
“Those responsible for the riots in Amalapuram will not be spared,” she asserted.“To name the district after Ambedkar was the demand of TDP, BJP and Jana Sena. Now, they are instigating people to protest, which is condemnable. The motive behind the riots is political,” Minister Viswarup alleged.
It was the first time since the April reorganisation of the districts that such violent incidents were reported from Amalapuram. East Godavari district was trifurcated as East Godavari, Kakinada and Konaseema districts. Three out of the seven Assembly segments in Amalapuram parliamentary constituency have been reserved for SCs.