The Andhra Pradesh government issued orders on Friday for the withdrawal of all cases registered against those who agitated for Special Category Status (SCS) for the state and were booked for the same.
The order, issued by the Home Department, was signed by Principal Secretary KRM Kishore Kumar and requested the Director General of Police (DGP) to instruct all concerned public prosecutors and assistant public prosecutors to drop the charges. The government order does not specify what sections of the IPC are being withdrawn.
SCS is financial aid given to states that fit into specific criteria. The demand to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh has been a long pending one, ever since the state was bifurcated in 2014. While Hyderabad is a common capital for both states until 2024, Andhra has been demanding funds to develop infrastructure in the state.
In the run-up to the Assembly elections, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had promised to get special status for the state and also drop cases against those who were booked for agitating and demanding the same.
The ruling NDA invoked the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission to deny Andhra Pradesh's claim for Special Category Status.
The TDP, the YSRCP and the Congress, have all demanded Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh, repeatedly pointing out that it was a promise made by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on the floor of the Parliament.
Several day-long shutdowns have been called in Andhra Pradesh over the past five years, to protest the Centre's reluctance in granting SCS. In 2018, the TDP pulled out of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, citing the latter's denial of special status to Andhra Pradesh, as the main reason.
Parties in the state have accused the Centre of going back on commitments made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.