Several hundreds of leaders and workers of CPI and CPI (M) were taken into custody during the ‘jail bharo' programme organised by the Left parties in the district on Thursday demanding the government to reduce the prices of essential commodities.

Among those arrested were district secretaries of CPI (M) and CPI Ch. Narasinga Rao and J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy respectively, CPI (M) and CPI leaders K. Lokanadham, R.K.S.V. Kumar, R. Bhagyalakshmi, Corporator B. Eswaramma, M. Subba Rao, G.S. Rajeswara Rao, Sujata, Padma, Chalasani Raghavendra Rao, Padala Ramana and others. About 500 workers were taken into custody as they held a dharna in front of the Collectorate here. Mr. Narasinga Rao while addressing the participants warned the Government that people would teach it a lesson if it failed to bring down the prices of commodities. The State and Central Governments were not bothered about the people who were reeling under the impact of spiralling prices, he said.

Mr. Satyanarayana Murthy alleged that the Government was encouraging middlemen and allowed them and the traders to fleece people. The public distribution system was weakened and the commodities were not being supplied to the poorer sections.

The police were present in a large number at the Collectorate since morning and stopped groups of CPI and CPI (M) workers and leaders at several places in the city and outskirts before they reached Collectorate. Thus the police prevented gathering of a large number of Left parties' workers near the Collectorate. The workers were taken into custody at Peda Gantyada, Gajuwaka, P.M. Palem, Malkapuram, Arilova and other places.

Mr. Narasinga Rao in a statement later criticised the police for preventing people from participating in a peaceful protest against price rise.

The protest programme was organised in front of the Tahsildars' offices in rural and Agency mandals. Hundreds were arrested at Anakapalle, Chodavaram, Narsipatnam, Deverapalli and other mandals and at Paderu, Chintapalli and other Agency mandals.

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