Protests in Konaseema against naming district after Ambedkar
Protests in Konaseema against naming district after Ambedkar

Andhra govt issues GO lifting cases against Konaseema caste riots

The agitating communities protesting against the government’s decision to rename the district set the house of YSRCP MLA Ponnada Satish and Transport Minister Pinipe Viswarupu on fire.

The Andhra Pradesh government has issued a Government Order, GO 1566, lifting cases against 242 people who carried out violent protests to oppose the renaming of Konaseema district after Dr BR Ambedkar in May 2022. 

In the violence, 20 police officials were injured during stone-pelting, houses of YSRCP MLA Ponnada Satish and Transport Minister Pinipe Viswarupu were set on fire. Several vehicles were also destroyed in Amalapuram, a Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved constituency in the district. The perpetrators mainly belonged to members of the dominant caste Kapu community as well as the Other Backward Classes (OBC) communities of Settibalija and Nagavamsam, who protested the name change over their perceived anger towards Dalits. 

Post the bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh, the state government had decided to rename the newly formed Konaseema district as BR Ambedkar Konaseema district in 2022. 

The decision saw stiff opposition from the BC communities. In a rally held in Amalapuram, the protestors under the banner of Konaseema Sadhana Samithi, demanded the district’s name be retained as Konaseema, leading to violence and tensions in the district. 

The police had initially detained around 46 people and arrested 19 others and stated that the violence was ‘pre-planned and orchestrated’ with instructions circulating on WhatsApp groups. 

Following the Jagan government’s decision to withdraw the cases against the perpetrators, Minister Pinipe Viswarupu, the legislator of Amalapuram, said that the Chief Minister consulted him and MLA P Satish – whose houses were attacked by the culprits – before issuing the GO. 

Also Read: A year after Konaseema caste riots, why Andhra govt wants to withdraw all cases 

AP CM Jagan has downplayed what appears to be a manifestation of deeply ingrained casteism as “minor scuffles,” and asked the people of Konaseema to simply forget them and “live in harmony like before.”

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