Violence rocks Andhra, Rayalaseema

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Seeking a unified State: People protesting against the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh stage a rasta roko in Anantapur on Saturday.
Seeking a unified State: People protesting against the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh stage a rasta roko in Anantapur on Saturday.

Andhra Pradesh Bureau

Students go on the rampage in Anantapur, lay siege to police station

HYDERABAD: Tension remained high in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, which witnessed sporadic violence for the second consecutive day to condemn the Centre’s announcement on initiating the process for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Life was affected in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, where a bandh was observed.

Students of Sri Krishnadevaraya University went on the rampage in Anantapur town, setting ablaze BSNL’s optic fibre cables worth Rs. 30 lakh at its warehouse abutting the campus and attacked a Reliance mobile phone tower. Thick smoke billowed over the town until fire engines doused the flames.

The students were protesting against Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement that the Centre’s decision to carve out a separate Telangana did not mean it would create other smaller States.

The agitators laid siege to the Itukalapalle police station near the campus and forcibly released three students who were arrested on Friday. Policemen fled the station on seeing the enraged mob. Separately, groups of students attacked the Dharmavaram railway station and ransacked the reservation counter; police, however, foiled another attempt to vandalise the Jangalapally railway station.

Inspector-General (Law and Order) A.R. Anuradha told journalists that the agitators damaged 14 transport vehicles, including buses of the A.P. State Road Transport Corporation. Five trains were stopped and rasta roko was organised at 35 places. She said the situation was “very volatile” and additional forces had been rushed to both regions.

In Nellore district, agitators, apparently upset at Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s announcement on Telangana, forcibly shut the gates of the Kandaleru reservoir across the Telugu Ganga Canal, from where 2,000 cusecs of water from the Krishna is supplied to Chennai. Separately, an outfit called the Andhra Intellectual Forum gave a call to detain all Chennai-bound trains.

“Don’t target Tamils”

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah appealed to the agitators to refrain from targeting Tamil Nadu and Tamilians.

Talking to The Hindu, he said: “Such developments are totally uncalled for and send the wrong signals. An isolated incident can result in more similar actions.” He pointed out that a large number of Telugu-speaking people were residing in Chennai, Coimbatore and other parts of Tamil Nadu.

Centre seeks report

Mr. Rosaiah said the Centre had asked him to submit a comprehensive report on the situation in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.

It asked him to specifically explain the different stages of the agitation and the steps taken by his government to restore peace. “I am sure they will give me proper advice on how to restore normality in the State after going through the report,” Mr. Rosaiah said.

He said he would assess on Monday the situation arising out of the ongoing protests, which turned violent in some places and advise Speaker N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on whether or not to continue the winter session of the Assembly.

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