Properties of PCC chief targeted; police burst tear gas shells as agitation turns violent

AP Congress Committee Botcha Satyanarayana faced the ire of Seemandhra agitators who targeted his house and properties on Friday in the belief that he joined hands with the Centre in dividing Andhra Pradesh.

Hundreds of youth fought pitched battles with police on the main road of the town on Day One of the 48-hour bandh called in Seemandhra region. Mr. Botcha’s visit to Delhi when the division was announced only strengthened the protestors’ suspicion that he was a votary of bifurcation.

The scene of action was the Congress leaders’ house located in a lane near the Three Lamps Junction. Keeping in view Thursday’s experience when APNGOs and teachers managed to reach his residence, police strengthened barricades at the entry points to the Minister’s house.

However, agitators threw stones at his properties which include a hotel and engineering college, cable TV office. Trouble broke out when youth attacked the police from the Clock Tower and Three Lamps Junctions and indulged in heavy stone pelting.

Sandwiched between the two sides, police burst teargas shells as the agitators damaged the vehicles of the Superintendent of Police, Additional SP, the SDPO Toyota cars and three police jeeps. SP Karthikeya, who monitored the situation, directed the police to maintain restraint. He told The Hindu that he had given permission for the agitators to protest peacefully near the barricades on the road but they pelted stones.

The entire town wore a deserted look as protesters blocked roads with burnt tyres and trees and did not even allow movement of cycles. All trade and commerce establishments, including small kiosks, remained closed. They burnt tents and flags of the Congress and flexi boards with photographs of Botcha’s family members besides making a vain attempt to damage the DCC Office at Mayuri Junction. They vowed to rout Mr. Botcha and his supporters in the elections.

Telugu Desam supporters led by P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, MLA and Dwarapureddy Jagadish, district president, staged a dharna for over 30 minutes and raised slogans against AICC president Sonia Gandhi and Botcha Satyanarayana. Later, they stopped Bhubaneswar-Bangalore City Prashanti Express at the railway station for 15 minutes.

Revenue Divisional Officer J. Venkat Rao promulgated prohibitory orders under Section 144CrPC . Protestors also damaged furniture in the house of Minister Satrucherla Vijayarama Raju and vandalised Congress Office in Salur. At Garividi, they attacked Mr. Botcha Satyanarayana’s camp office.