“What is the point of democracy if they don’t even allow us to protest on Republic Day?” a protester questioned.

No Marina-style movement for Andhra Police foil special status protests in Vizag
news Special Status Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 11:52

Amidst demands for a special status for Andhra Pradesh, several protesters who tried to enter the RK beach in Visakhapatnam on Republic Day have been detained by the police.

The protesters from Jana Sena party and several students were planning to conduct a silent protest at the beach, Marina-style, but the police refused to allow any such demonstration.

“They have detained some Jana Sena activists early in the morning at 6 near Gajuwaka area. They also arrested more people from the beach area at 9 in the morning. They are sending back everyone who is arriving at the beach,” said a student protester.

“Jana Sena youth also tried to start a rally and got arrested. We want to hold a silent protest, but the police are detaining people and not allowing us to stage a peaceful protest here,” he added.

The police have imposed Cr PC Section 144 from Wednesday evening until Friday morning. Addressing media persons, the Commissioner of Police T Yoganand said that did not have an issue with allowing any peaceful protests, but that the protesters had not taken permission, forcing the police to beef up security.

"Section 144 is the reason things are peaceful here," he observed.

Students meanwhile are angry and frustrated with the political leaders, and are resentful about not being allowed to protest.

“I voted for Chandrababu Naidu with the hope that he will look into the interest of Telugu people. We have already lost Hyderabad to Telangana. The least the centre could do is grant us special status,” said one protester. He also questioned the viability of the TDP-BJP alliance if the former could not even meet their demands.

Special status for Andhra has been a longstanding demand of the state. Following the successful people’s movement in Tamil Nadu that managed to make jallikattu legal in the state, youngsters and students in Andhra have decided to protest, demanding special status for Andhra.

In September last year, massive protests broke out in Andhra after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised a special economic package for the state instead of the special status.

While this would provide benefits for infrastructure, education and so on, a special status will also give them tax exemptions, which, the state says, will help them get more investments and create jobs.

But as the political leadership is refusing to allow any protests on the issue, the protesters are not happy. “What is the point of democracy if they don’t even allow us to protest on Republic Day?” a protester questioned. Another held the CM responsible for the police allegedly mistreating the youth on Republic day.

Some protesters claimed that they had put their political differences aside to come to show solidarity with their brothers in Andhra Pradesh. “I was part of the Telangana movement but I’ve come here today to get justice for my Andhra brothers,” said one.

Another protester claimed to be a member of the Jana Sena party but had come to protest with a YSR Congress Party student leader. “We may be divided by politics but we are united for this cause (special status),” he stated.

More than 150 police personnel have taken position, and have been monitoring the entrance. No vehicles are allowed to park near the beach area, without proper identity proof.

In fact, all entries into RK beach have been barricaded, and there is heavy police presence in the area.

While some students continue to land up at RK beach with black cloth tied around their mouths for the planned protest, the organisers are considering shifting the agitation to the nearby Vuda park.

However, as of now, there is no confirmation on whether a protest will happen on Thursday in Visakhapatnam.

Also read: Special status for Andhra, and protest at Vizag beach: Jayaprakash Narayan speaks to TNM