Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, September 11
Opposition leader of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu was taken into preventive custody on Wednesday amidst high drama, to prevent him from leading a protest at Atmakur in Andhra Pradesh against alleged “states atrocities” on TDP workers.
Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Damodar Goutam Sawang said the action was “necessary” as Naidu’s actions were “increasing tensions" and causing "disturbance” to the law and order situation in the Palnadu region of Guntur district.
The police didn’t take him into preventive custody for “fighting against the policies” of the government of Andhra Pradesh, but for "disturbing" the law and order situation, the DGP added.
The former chief minister was put under house arrest on Wednesday morning.
Many other Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders have been detained, including Naidu’s son and TDP General Secretary Nara Lokesh. Naidu has, however, said he will march towards Atmakur despite being prevented from doing so.
When stopped from leaving the house, Naidu initially announced he would fast till evening, but later decided to march despite being prevented. Meanwhile, the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has given a call to YSRCP cadres—who have alleged “victimisation” during the TDP regime—to also reach Atmakur.
Reports from across Andhra Pradesh state that since morning the state police has been going into the homes of prominent TDP leaders, and confining them inside. Barricades have been put up on all roads leading to Atmakur to prevent TDP workers from moving towards the area.
A senior police official said the police could not take any chances ahead of the “Chalo Atmakur” call given by both the TDP and the YSRCP. There was "every possibility of a clash" between the two parties, so it has been decided that neither would be allowed to hold any political function, he added.
On Tuesday, Director General of Police Gautam Sawang had said that no permission had been given for any meetings, processions, rallies or protests in Palnadu region of Guntur District as Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and Section 30 of Police Act were in force.
In the makeshift state capital Vijayawada, high drama was witnessed in the Novotel Hotel where former minister Bhuma Akhila Priya was detained inside her hotel room. She lodged a strong protest over the police entering her room without permission and has threatened to take the matter to court.
Since the YSRCP came to power on May 23, 2019 clashes have been reported from across Andhra between the TDP and YSRCP cadres, generally with the TDP cadres being thrashed by men from the ruling party, and the police remaining mute.
The TDP claims that eight party workers have died and 500 others have been injured. Most of the clashes have taken place in Guntur district.
Atmakur in Guntur was selected by Naidu to protest as this was the worst affected region on account of political clashes between the two parties. The objective was to allow the victims to air their woes. But to counter the TDP, the YSRCP also gave a “Chalo Atmakur” call for the same date and time—giving the police an opportunity to prevent the event from taking place.