The cadres of YSR Congress party led by Vijayawada Central in-charge P. Gowtham Reddy took up a dharna in front of the MRO office here on Tuesday, protesting against the South Central Railways diktat to vacate the residents of Bhanunagar.

Over 400 families marched up to the MRO office and staged a dharna.

According to Gowtham Reddy the 400 families who live in about 100 houses have been residing in that area since last four decades and about 10 years ago they were given pattas (documents) for the land occupied by the then District Collector and MRO.

“A year ago, South Central Railways officials approached the residents and ordered them to vacate as they (Railways) claimed that the land belonged to them.

A few days back they again approached the residents along with a team of the police officials and threatened that they would use force if the residents did not heed to their diktat,” he told The Hindu .

The residents contend that where were the Railway authorities when the pattas were given to them.