Several persons, including women, injured in lathicharge

Several persons, mostly women, were injured when the police caned the CPI(M) activists and people black and blue indiscriminately, here on Tuesday. The police prevented the CPI(M) activists from picketing the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation office by bundling them into police vans and lorries and taking them away to police stations.

The CPI(M) has announced that it would lay siege to the VMC office to highlight the indifferent attitude of the government and developmental works that came to a grinding halt in the city. Sensing possible trouble, the police forces were present in large numbers and closed the entry points to the corporation.

The police took into custody all those, who sported black badge and carried the red flags. The CPI(M) activists changed their moves tactically and marched towards the corporation suddenly. Some of them tried to enter the corporation from Rajiv Gandhi Park side. But, the police took them also into custody.

Arrest condemned

The melee and picketing attempts continued for more than one hour. The police took CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao, city secretariat member Donepudi Kasinath and others into custody.

Condemning the arrests, CPI(M) district secretary R. Raghu and party state committee member V. Umamaheswara Rao termed the arrests as State' repression. The people and leaders were arrested even before they reached the VMC office.

The police did not respond when ruling Congress activists and rowdy sheets put up tents near Ashoka pillar and obstructed the movement of public transport. But, the people who tried to register their protest in a peaceful manner were taken into custody, they said, adding, the agitation would be intensified if the government continued its autocratic policies.

Their demands include: release of Rs. 250 crore grants and dues from the State government and providing pucca houses to all shelterless in the city. Allocation of 6,000 vacant houses at Jakkampudi and 1,000 vacant houses at New Rajarajeswaripeta to the poor; completion of the 3,000 houses which are under construction at Ajithsingh Nagar; conducting VMC elections, construction of flyovers at Kanaka Durga temple, Benz Circle, Gunadala, Madhura Nagar and Vambay Colony are some of the other demands.

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