Police force was deployed in huge numbers to quell opposition to the three-capital proposal which has been tabled in the Assembly.

Amaravati row Police crackdown on Chalo Assembly protesters and TDP leaders
news Protest Monday, January 20, 2020 - 12:19

Several opposition leaders were either detained or placed under house arrest in Andhra Pradesh as protests rocked Amaravati and surrounding districts on Monday, ahead of a crucial Assembly session where the state government is likely to announce its final decision on three capitals proposal.

Tension prevailed as TDP cadres and others took to the streets to demand that Amaravati be continued as the only state capital.

There was high tension at Thullur village as large number of farmers and other villagers tried to march towards the Assembly in response to the 'Chalo Assembly' protest called by main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Joint Action Committee (JAC) fighting for protection of Amaravati as the state capital.

The protesters, including women, removed police barricades to proceed towards the Assembly. Police reportedly used force to stop the protesters.

Meanwhile, the police detained hundreds of TDP workers and protestors trying to reach Amaravati from Vijayawada, other parts of Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and other districts in the state.

TDP President and Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu termed Monday as a black day for the state. He alleged that the Chief Minister was destroying the dream capital of people to settle political scores with him.

Nara Lokesh, TDP General Secretary and son of Chandrababu Naidu condemned the heavy deployment of police force, tweeting, “Why are there ten policemen in front of each house holding nets? Why is there an atmosphere of war in the capital region villages? How can they deploy so much police force, like the Pakistan border? Is it a crime for people to ask the government to live up to promises made to them?”

He also wrote that the decision to decentralise capitals was weak, which is why the YSRCP government was behaving in such a ‘totalitarian’ manner. 

Several top TDP leaders were either taken into custody or placed under house arrest. Vijayawada MP Kesineni Nai, former ministers D Uma Maheswar Rao and Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy were among the leaders placed under house arrest.

Thousands of policemen were deployed in Amaravati, Vijayawada and surrounding towns to prevent protesters from heading towards Assembly. The Prakasam Barrage across Krishna river, which connects Vijayawada to Amaravati, has been sealed for traffic.

Police threw a thick security cordon around the secretariat and Assembly and sealed several roads. Amid tight security, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy reached the secretariat, where he chaired the state cabinet.

The cabinet meeting has approved the report of a high-power committee on decentralization of development and state capital and also gave its nod for the Bills to be tabled in the three-day Assembly session.

A Bill to repeal Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) is likely to be passed by the Assembly to facilitate shifting of key capital functions from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.

The YSRCP government proposes to develop Visakhapatnam as administrative capital and Kurnool as judicial capital while retaining Assembly in Amaravati.

For more than a month, farmers in all 29 villages of Amaravati have been staging protests, demanding that Amaravati be retained as the only capital. The farmers had given 33,000 acres of land for development of Amaravati as the state capital in 2015.

IANS inputs

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