Violence erupted again in some areas of East Godavari district following desecration of yet another statue of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar at Dowleswaram in the early hours of Thursday.
This comes close on the heels of desecration of three statues of the architect of India's Constitution at Amalapuram.
According to the police, two youth damaged the full-size statue on canal road at Dowleswaram. An old woman was witness to the incident that occurred between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.
On receipt of information, Rajahmundry Urban Superintendent of Police P. Umapati along with Revenue Divisional Officer M. Venugopal Reddy rushed to the spot. By then, hundreds of Dalits had gathered at Vemagiri junction on the National Highway and blocked traffic between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam. Some people indulged in stone-pelting at Irrigation Circle at Dowleswaram damaging four buses of the APSRTC. Agitated youths ransacked the Irrigation Department Superintendent Engineer's Office.
Meanwhile, MLCs Kandula Durgesh and B. Indira reached Vemagiri junction and staged a protest along with Dalit organisations demanding immediate arrest of the culprits. Traffic came to standstill for more than two hours on the national highway. A special team with Additional SP (Administration) Varadarajulu, two DSPs and other police officials had been constituted to nab the culprits.
Police pickets would be posted near all statutes of Dr. Ambedkar in the district for one week from now as a precautionary measure. Prohibitory orders were imposed in Dowleswaram and Kadiyam police station limits.
Minister Pinipe Viswaroop visited the spot and assured the locals that the culprits would be nabbed in 24 hours.
YSR Congress Party leaders staged a dharna at the Gokavaram bus stand in protest against the incident.
Dalit groups observed Republic Day as black day in all the mandals of the Konaseema area. Youths carrying black flags and portraits of Ambedkar photos took out rallies in Amalapuram, Allavaram, Ambajipeta, Mummidivaram, Ravulapalem and P. Gannavaram mandals.
Bojja Tarakam, senior advocate of the High Court, hoisted a black flag at Katrenikona.