The relaxation of curfew for only an hour on Tuesday morning came in for criticism from people. They wondered how they could buy all their daily requirements in just one hour when all of them had to rush to the shops at the same time.
They alleged that the traders had hiked the prices taking undue advantage of the situation. They said that tomatoes were sold at Rs.50 a kg and onions at Rs.70 a kg.
The situation in the town was calm and peaceful on Tuesday with no signs of an undercurrent of tension unlike in the last few days.
District Collector Kantilal Dande warned traders of action under the Essential Commodities Act, if they sold at higher prices. He said that measures were being taken to sell essential commodities through Rythu Bazaars during the curfew relaxation hours. He said that the law and order situation was under control and added that ‘curfew passes’ would be issued to people based on the requirement.
Men, women and children coming into the town from Visakhapatnam side by private vehicles were seen walking down the road from ‘Y’ junction, more than a kilometre away, as vehicles were not allowed beyond that point by the police. A long line of lorries was stranded beside the highway.
“The curfew will be relaxed for two hours from 7 a.m. on Wednesday.
The relaxation would be given, if there are no untoward incidents tonight in the town,” Superintendent of Police Karthikeya told the media on Tuesday evening.
He said that 110 youths, in the age group of 18 to 30 years, had been arrested so far. Orders were issued to police to provide relaxation to medical emergency cases after proper confirmation.
Mr. Karthikeya said that the ‘Sirimanu’ was identified at Duppada village on Tuesday.
He appealed to the festival organisers to limit the participation of people on carting of the ‘Sirimanu’ from the village.
He said that four rope parties would follow the ‘Sirimanu’ from the town limits to the priest Thallapudi Bhaskara Rao’s house at Hukumpeta in the town.
He asked the organisers to end the programme before dusk.