Tension grips city after attack

Staff Reporter

Sequel to attack on Congress loyalist

Police barricade Gopala Reddy Road for an hourLawyers come out of court halls after hearing gunshots

VIJAYAWADA: Tension prevailed on Gopala Reddy Road in the city on Friday afternoon, following an attack on the Congress loyalist Vangaveeti Santan Kumar on the City Civil Courts premises. With the news spreading like wildfire, people began to throng the courts to look at the scene and get firsthand information.

The police barricaded Gopala Reddy road for an hour from 12.30 p.m. and deputed personnel on either sides of the road to prevent the entry of vehicles. Lawyers and people who came to attend the court sessions came out of the court halls, soon after hearing the gunshots.

Lawyers shocked

"This is the first such incident on the court premises. It is so shocking," said B. David Ratnakumar, who came out of the court hall after listening the noise.

A battery of cameramen surrounded the scene of offence - the entrance of the court hall, from where the police collected four bullet shells. Rumours spread in no time that the condition of Santan was critical.

Though the doctors of Help Hospitals declared Vara Prasad, associate of Santan, brought dead, the police did not reveal the news for about an hour. They had maintained that Santan was out of danger and the condition of Vara Prasad was critical.

Police Commissioner Umesh Sharraf, who visited the hospital around 1.30 p.m., announced Vara Prasad dead. He told reporters that it was too early to comment over the case.

With the police opening the Gopal Reddy road for vehicular traffic after collecting the bullet shells and a live cartridge, the focus of the public shifted to the hospital.

The police had a tough time preventing the crowds at the hospital when city Congress committee president Pyla Sominaidu and VGTM-UDA chairman Malladi Vishnu visited the place.

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