Riots leave Amalapuram residents in disbelief

Even as Tuesday’s incidents were fresh in the minds of citizens, it was business as usual in the otherwise peaceful town. 

Published: 26th May 2022 05:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th May 2022 05:12 AM   |  A+A-

Over 1,500 police personnel were deployed across Amalapuram town I Express

Express News Service

AMALAPURAM: An uneasy calm prevailed in Amalapuram town even as life limped back to normalcy a day after protests against renaming the newly carved out Konaseema district after Dr BR Ambedkar had turned violent.Even as Tuesday’s incidents were fresh in the minds of citizens, it was business as usual in the otherwise peaceful town. 

Over 1,500 police personnel and at least five superintendents of police from neighbouring districts were deployed to keep the situation under control.“We have never seen this kind of violent incidents before. We (the people of Konaseema) are known for our politeness and respecting others. We suspect that some outsiders entered the scene and fomented trouble,’’ S Venkata Ramu, a resident of the town told TNIE.

A violent mob on Tuesday had set ablaze the houses of Transport Minister Pinipe Viswarup and Mummidivaram MLA Satish, and several vehicles while agitating against the May 19 Government Order (GO) inviting objections and suggestions to rename the district as Dr BR Ambedkar Konaseema. 

Fear was palpable even though the situation was brought under control late on Tuesday. Armed policemen could be seen at every street and busy junctions. As a precautionary measure internet services has been suspended to prevent rumours and instigating messages. 

RTC bus schedules, which were halted last night, resumed operations by 10 am. Apart from hotels and other establishments where congregation of people was possible, other businesses were allowed to reopen.
Police kept an eye on the movement of suspicious persons and did not allow people to gather at public places as CrPC Section 144 was still in place. 

“People have been living in fear since last night. No one expected that there would be any objection to the renaming of the district after BR Ambedkar till the protests turned violent all of a sudden. The protestors were carrying petrol bottles and other inflammatory materials. It seemed like the attacks on buses and residences of elected representatives were pre-planned,’’ G Srinivasa Rao, watchman of an apartment in the town remarked.

There have been sporadic instances of conflicts reported between the SCs on one side and the BCs and Kapus on the other, in the region, but the violence came as a rude shock to the citizens as the erstwhile East Godavari district, particularly Konaseema region tucked between the tributaries of the River Godavari, is known for its peaceful atmosphere.

While the population of BCs and SCs is almost equal in number, Kapus have been considered to be a dominant community.  Of the seven Assembly constituencies in the district, three are SC reserved. 
Some locals also opined that the appointment of local MLA P Viswarup to the cabinet for the second time bothered those who were left out.“This might have prompted the protestors to target his house,” a tea vendor guessed.

A social activist from Amalapuram, Vaddi Veeraswamy, said, “The government had asked to submit objections or suggestions regarding renaming Konaseema within 30 days. A section of people held a massive rally without police permission and violated prohibitory orders. If they were opposed to renaming the district, they should have expressed the same in a proper manner.’’


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