Youth daring armed police with sticks and stones, street battles, tear gas lobbing, firing in the air, baton-wielding policemen literally taking control of all the main thoroughfares in the town… This was the scene in the Fort Town of Vizianagaram for over three days till Monday when police strictly enforced curfew.The peace-loving people couldn’t recall having witnessed such a situation ever. The people of the town, who were against the proposed bifurcation of the State, were agitated by Thursday’s Union Cabinet decision to approve the division. On Friday morning, Samaikyandhra activists went round the town targeting the assets of PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana and his relatives. There is a feeling of betrayal among people that the PCC chief, instead of trying to stop the division, had discreetly supported it with statements like: “There is nothing wrong in Telugu-speaking people having two states.”
They threw stones at properties and houses owned by Satyanarayana and his relatives in the town. On the other hand, police were deployed in large numbers only to protect the assets of the PCC chief.
The private security staff of Majji Srinivasa Rao aka China Srinu, nephew of the PCC chief, reportedly beat up three student protesters badly and held them captive in a house on Friday night. With no information about their whereabouts and police, too, not providing information to the public, rumours started doing rounds that the students were dead. Police officials admitted that two students were badly beaten up during protests, but termed reports that they were killed as “mere rumours”. Said a police officer: “The parents and relatives of the victims would have come out on the streets by now, if they were dead.” An old woman summed up the emotions of the public, saying: “Who will keep quiet when their children are killed?” Police relaxed curfew for an hour only on Tuesday morning. There were no untoward incidents during the relaxation period, and it was increased to two hours on Wednesday.
The caning of a girl by police on Sunday, added fuel to the fire, resulting in protesters throwing stones at Satya Institute of Technology and Management, which was set up by Mr. Satyanarayana.
B. Madhu Gopal
“‘Annayya (elder brother), you allow us to destroy his (Botcha’s) house, and after that you need not worry as we will go back.’ They fanned out into the adjacent streets and destroyed the glass panes of shops in a bid to divert our attention.”
A policeman on duty at Vizianagaram
“Who will keep quiet when their children are killed?”
An old woman on missing student protesters