Vijayawada: Even as normalcy was restored at Amalapuram in the aftermath of violence, fresh trouble erupted at Ravulapalem where youths in large numbers hit the road on Wednesday, opposing the move to name Konaseema district after Dr BR Ambedkar.
On the lines of the call given by the Konaseema Sadhana Samithi, youths took out the rally and organised a ‘Chalo Ravulapalem’ to express their opposition to the government decision.
A large number of police personnel were deployed at Amalapuram, even as the situation there returned to normal. Seven cases were booked and nearly 46 persons arrested in relation to the arson and violence.
On Wednesday, the supporters of the Konaseema Sadhana Samithi gathered in large number to stage the protest at Ravulapalem. Some youths were seen pelting stones at the police. Police acted swiftly and chased them for a distance. Some 54 of them were arrested and taken to the local police station.
East Godavari SP Aishwaraya said, “Section 144 is clamped on Ravulapalem but some people pelted stones at our personnel. We caught one of them. One or two stones fell near our personnel and no one was injured. We are going to deal with the rioters very sternly.”
Following Tuesday’s arson at Amalapuram, senior police officers from neighbouring districts like Kakinada and East Godavari, led by additional DGP Ravi Shankar are camping in the town to ensure maintenance of law and order.
Transport minister Pinepe Viswaroop whose house was torched by the arsonists at Amalapuram said, “We narrowly escaped from getting killed. Had we remained at our home for a few more minutes, we would have lost our lives. The agitators did not allow fire tenders to reach our house.”
“So was the case with the wife of Mummidivaram MLA Ponnada Satish who also had a narrow escape when their house was set on fire. Though we suspect the role of some people, the police would inquire and arrest the culprits and punish them,” he added.
Kakinada SP Ravindra Babu said, “We are taking CCTV footage and statements from the eyewitnesses to identify the culprits involved in the arson and violence at Amalapuram.”
Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan alleged that the YSR Congress government stirred up the violence in Konaseema. “It was a premeditated move to divert the attention of Dalits who are increasingly turning against the government,” he claimed.
Though the state government claimed that it restructured the districts for administrative convenience, it did not name Konaseema district after Dr BR Ambedkar similar on the lines of a new districts named as Sri Satyasai, Annamayya and Alluri Sitarama Raju, he said.
He opined that had it been so, the violence would not have erupted.
He also raised his objection to the government giving 30 days’ time to people to express their opinions on renaming the Konaseema district. “This meant that the government had prior knowledge that the issue would result in violence,” he surmised.
Referring to the torching of houses of a minister and an MLA at Amalapuram, the Jana Sena chief asked as to why sufficient numbers of police personnel were not deployed there to avert such incidents. “As the YSR Congress leaders wanted it, the police were not deployed in strength there.”
He appealed to the people of Konaseema to remain calm and said there should have been a referendum when a decision on such a sensitive issue was taken.