Several installations of the Reliance group across Andhra Pradesh were attacked late on Thursday night after a Telugu television channel aired a report alleging a high-level conspiracy behind Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s death in a helicopter crash on September 2.
It was based on a report on a Russian website, The Exiled, which alleged that YSR was the victim of a plot centring around offshore gas reserves in the Krishna-Godavari basin. Reliance Industries Limited owned by Mukesh Ambani is operating these gas fields off the Kakinada coast.
No political party, barring some Congress leaders, gave credence to the report of the website, which could not be accessed. But mobs took to the streets and indulged in vandalism in at least ten districts and Hyderabad city.
YSR’s son and Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, in a statement, expressed shock at the report and said he would mount pressure on the Centre to investigate the conspiracy angle.
He appealed to people to maintain calm, saying destruction of property was not a solution.
YSR’s supporters went on the rampage in Guntur, Anantapur and Kurnool districts and Hyderabad city, where they attacked retail outlets and malls, cell phone towers and petrol stations operated by the two Reliance groups. They burnt effigies of Mukesh and Anil Ambani.
Local Congress leaders called for a bandh in Kadapa and Anantapur districts and several towns in other districts.
Guntur witnessed the maximum attack on the Reliance groups’ outlets, with the mobs attacking fuel stations, cell phone towers and other retail outlets.
Tension prevailed in the district as senior Congress leaders led the attack on the outlets till late in the night.
In Kurnool district, activists set ablaze two buses at the Nandyal bus stand and attacked over a dozen others.