Amalapuram violence: Dominant castes’ stir led to riots

Setti Balijas & Kapus formed Konaseema Parirakshana Samithi against renaming of district

Published: 27th May 2022 05:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2022 05:57 AM   |  A+A-

Police pickets continued surveillance in Amalapuram town. Internet services to be restored after all accused are nabbed I Express

Express News Service

KAKINADA: Preliminary investigation into the Amalapuram violence has revealed that two dominant castes in the district—Kapus and Setti Balijas—came together to oppose the move to rename Konaseema district after Dr BR Ambedkar. The two communities, which vied with each other for one-upmanship in the region, came under an umbrella organisation, the ‘Konaseema Parirakshana Samithi’.

“The coming together of these communities intensified the protests against the renaming of the district as more number of people participated in the agitation,’’ Konaseema district Superintendent of Police KSSV Subba Reddy said.Suspecting that ‘outsiders ‘ participated in Tuesday’s arson, the SP added that though people had earlier taken to the streets in support of renaming the district after Ambedkar, the situation had never gone out of hand.

After a notification was issued on May 19, inviting suggestions and objections to rename the district, a few communities raised their voice against the move and formed an organisation, ‘Konaseema Parirakshana Samithi.’Pointing out that Setti Balijas, Kapus and other communities represented the Samithi, the SP said, “The rally was taken out without permission. When it reached the collectorate, some leaders were talking to the police, when unidentified persons suddenly started attacking.’’

Section 144 of CrPC was imposed on May 19 to view of the protests. The situation was brought under control after Eluru Range DIG rushed to the town with additional forces.The district remained peaceful on Thursday, but internet services are yet to be restored.Based on a complaint lodged by constable V Subramanyam, cases were booked for attacking the police in Amalapuram. The accused have been booked under various sections including attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, causing hurt, etc.

The violent protests in Amalapuram have also shed light on the shortage of police personnel. Konaseema, with seven Assembly constituencies, has less than 500 officers. The erstwhile East Godavari district had a sanctioned strength of 2,755, but after restructuring the force into four units, Konaseema was allotted 941 personnel. However, only 456 are serving. Konaseema district has two revenue and police sub-divisions — Amalapuram and Ramachandrapuram — with a total of 29 police stations. 

Meanwhile, the blame game continued with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao blaming the ruling YSRC for politicising the issue, while the YSRC pointed fingers at TDP and Jana Sena.

Cops on look out for WhatsApp group admins
So far, police have registered cases against 46 persons belonging to various political parties and caste organisations. Police have reported that the issue was discussed in 20 WhatsApp groups on the day of the violence. They said admins of such groups would be traced and arrested. Of the 46 arrested, 19 were held based on technical data

Of 7 Assembly seats, 3 are reserved, 2 BC-backed
Of the 20 lakh population, SCs and Setti Balijas account for five lakh each in Konaseema district while Kapus account for around four lakh and the rest include other communities. Out of the seven Assembly constituencies, three are reserved and four are general. Of which, two are represented by BC candidates.



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