‘Ranarang Chowk’, a symbol of freedom struggle

Martyrs Memorial at Ranarang Chowk in Tenali built to commemorate the killing of seven martyrs during Quit India movement. Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar   | Photo Credit: T VIJAYA KUMAR

Standing tall, the seven pillars standing tall in the middle of a green patch make for a captivating sight as one drives down the Rail over Bridge (RoB) leading to the town. The pillars stand amid a lush green patch christened as ‘Ranarang Chowk,’ to commemorate the sacrifices made by the seven martyrs who were shot dead by police on August 12, 1942.

Ever since they were erected in 1959 in memory of seven martyrs who were shot dead in police firing during Quit India movement, the martyr’s memorial has been the most enduring symbol of spirited defiance shown by the people of the town in the heydays of Quit India movement.

It was in 1942 that the whole region was simmering with discontent against the British rule. After paying heed to a passionate call given by Mahatma Gandhi through Quit India movement, local leaders Kalluri Chandramouli, Velavolu Seetharamaiah and Avuthu Subba Reddy unveiled the action plan at the district Congress office.

They called for a bandh on August 12 protesting the arrest of Gandhi. The protests turned violent as irate mobs ransacked a hotel near railway station. A section of mob set fire to an oil tanker near north cabin and later set fire to the station. The violence continued as mobs set fire to Chennai passenger train.

By afternoon, the protesters left the station but the station was teeming with curious onlookers. The Collector and the SP arrived with battalions of reserved police from Guntur. The SP ordered the police to open fire on the unarmed mobs.

Seven persons, Majeti Subba Rao, Srigiri Lingam, Lakshminarayana, Tammineni Subba Reddy, Gali Ramakotaiah, Prayaga Raghavaiah and Jasti Appaiah, were killed in police firing.

The then British government cracked down the unrest with brute force. Hundreds of people were charged with arson and were punished by special courts. A huge penalty of Rs.2 lakh was levied on the town.

The incident attracted worldwide attention and was broadcast by Berlin and Tokyo radios.

After independence, Municipal Chairperson Alapati Venkatramaiah installed the seven pillars in memory of martyrs and renamed the area as ‘Ranarang Chowk.’ On December 20, 1959, the memorial was inaugurated by AICC president Kamaraj and then Chief Minister Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 8:29:28 AM |

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