Andhra Pradesh police on Wednesday night arrested Telugu Desam Party (TDP) spokesman K Pattabhi Ram for allegedly using abusive words against Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. The arrest came a day after his remarks triggered a huge backlash from alleged supporters of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), who attacked TDP's central office at Mangalagiri in Amaravati and party offices in other parts of the state. Pattabhi Ram's house was also attacked by unidentified people on Tuesday.
According to police, the TDP leader was arrested in connection with a case booked against him at the Governorpet police station. He has been booked under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 505 (2) (statements conducing to public mischief), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) read with 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The TDP spokesperson was arrested after policemen broke open his door. His wife Chandra said that if anything happened to him, the government would be responsible. She said they have no faith in the police as they have not arrested anybody involved in the attack on their house on Tuesday.
The TDP leader also released a video to the media to show that he had no injuries before the arrest. He said if anything happened to him in custody, the police would be responsible. Earlier in the day, Director General of Police Gautam Sawang said that use of abusive or vulgar language against a constitutional authority like the Chief Minister is unacceptable.
The police chief said that it was not a slip of tongue by the spokesperson as he used the abusive word repeatedly at the press conference. "The statement made by the spokesperson was not a casual statement. Such abusive and vulgar language was never used before against a constitutional authority. You cannot abuse the President, the Prime Minister, courts, judges or the Chief Minister," the DGP said.
Meanwhile, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Assembly N Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday wrote to the President, Prime Minister and Union Home Minister seeking President's rule in the state citing what he called breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state.
The former CM also demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into Tuesday's attacks on TDP offices and its leaders. He also sought protection by central police forces for the offices of the principal opposition party and key opposition leaders in the state.
Naidu sent letters to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah along with images, video clips and newspaper cuttings pertaining to Tuesday's attack on TDP's central office at Mangalagiri and other party offices and houses of party leaders.
He said state-wide attacks planned against TDP in a span of couple of hours are clear indications of pre-meditated and pre-planned attacks jointly orchestrated by the Chief Minister, Chief Minister's Office and the Director General of Police (DGP). He called the attacks state-sponsored terror against people and political parties and alleged that the police colluded with attackers.
"This is not something unprecedented, it is actually the culmination of two-and-half years of intimidation and attacks by the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh on different sections of the society and democratic institutions, be it political parties, legislature, judiciary, bureaucracy and media," wrote Naidu.
"If left unchecked, state-sponsored violence will only escalate further and spill across state borders, threatening national security. Thus, there is a complete failure of law and order along with the breakdown of constitutional machinery in Andhra Pradesh. This current situation of widespread lawlessness constitutes an apt case for the imposition of Article 356 of the Constitution," he added.
He said around 200 YSRCP goons attacked the TDP central office which is within a km from the office of the DGP. Never in the history of Indian democracy, did a ruling party‚Äôs henchman attack the central office of the principal opposition party, he wrote. Naidu alleged that the state-wide attacks were carried out with a view to curb the opposition with regard to drugs like heroin and cannabis. He also referred to seizure of 3,000 kg of heroin at Mundra Port with the importing organisation being registered in Vijayawada.