It was on this day 50 years ago nine Vizagites, including six students and three workers, died in police firing as the agitation for the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant picked up after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi did not seem to honour the demand of the people of Andhra Pradesh. Those holding top positions or on the verge of retirement in the VSP now were in schools when the agitation and police firing happened.
Six were killed near Mrs. A.V.N. College and three near the old post office when people took to the streets in huge processions. People alleged that the police fired at peaceful protestors.
As many as 32 were killed in different parts of the then undivided Andhra Pradesh during the “Visakha Ukku, Andhrula Hakku”, and life was paralysed and trains were stopped even in the Telangana region as youngsters of the State wanted a major industry established in the State so that they could get employment.
After a foreign agency decided that Visakhapatnam is best suited to have a shore-based steel plant, the A.P. people’s demand grew louder and they did not want the Central Government to have the plant in any other State, even as other States started making the demand though they were less qualified.
Students started the agitation and the late Tenneti Viswanadham led the struggle as every section of the State joined the agitation and brought the administration to a standstill in the State. T. Amrutha Rao went on an indefinite fast demanding the steel plant.
CITU, SFI take out rally
To remind the people of the sacrifice made by the 32 martyrs of the Visakha Ukku agitation, the CITU and SFI organised a programme at the Mrs. AVN College and a rally from the college to old post office junction via Reading Room.
State president of CITU Ch. Narasinga Rao recalled that the agitation was started and sustained by students of Mrs. AVN College and Andhra University College of Engineering before it spread all over the State.
The VSP was established due to the struggles and sacrifices of the people of the State and it propelled the growth of the city but at present the Government was not meeting the requirements of the plant, he regretted. Mr. Narasinga Rao also wanted Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to understand that A.P. could get major projects like the VSP and Nagarjuna Sagar dam only due to agitations and he should not criticise people and parties when they agitated for major projects and on issues. He wanted the people and students to continue the agitations for Special Category Status and separate Railway Zone for A.P. with headquarters at Visakhapatnam.
City president of SFI K. Prudhviraju presided. CITY city president R.K.S.V. Kumar, senior leaders like B. Ganga Rao, P. Venkata Reddy, Y. Raju, D. Appalaraju, city secretary of SFI UVN Raju and others participated. Senior citizens like T. Shanta Rao and Suryam, who were witness to the police firing, recalled the incidents.