A day after YSRCP trade union leader Gowtham Reddy’s made controversial remarks on late Kapu leader Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga Rao and his brother Radha Krishna, the political atmosphere continued to heat up in Vijayawada.
Gowtham said in an interview to a local channel that the two brothers are 'snakes', and that there was "nothing wrong in killing" the duo. The statement triggered protests across the city by supporters of the Vangaveeti family.
Gowtham was immediately suspended from the party after YSRCP learned of his comments, who claimed that they will not tolerate unsavoury comments against any person or community in the future by party workers.
While Gowtham was arrested, Ranga’s son, Vangaveeti Radhakrishna and his mother Ratna Kumari were taken into preventive custody for three hours at the Ibrahimpatnam police station. A huge crowd gathered in front of the Vangaveeti residence, and in front of the police station condemning the detention of the two.
Within a day, Radhakrishna held a press conference at the party office clarifying the episode.
Radhakrishna said that Gowtham Reddy had no standing to talk about the Ranga family as he has previously been involved in two murder cases.
“Ranga fans will never remain silent even if some useless fellow makes such comments,” he said.
“We wanted to hold a press meet where we regularly do, but the police detained us illegally. We asked them to take her (Ratna Kumari) to the hospital. They didn’t even have women constables. What authority do they have?” he questioned.
They weren’t allowed to hold a press conference the previous day as the police had cited law and order concerns. He questioned the police, asking how the same problems weren’t there on Monday.
He also added “Ranga fans will respond irrespective of parties. They can criticise me or anyone, but why should they make such remarks on a leader who passed away. If anyone respects our leader, people will bless them, otherwise they will teach them a lesson.”
Replying to a query where he was asked if the controversy has concluded with the suspension of Gowtham Reddy, he said “It’s neither a full stop nor a comma. Law has taken its own course, and Ranga’s fans will take their own course”.
Political tensions continue to simmer in the city as supporters step up to protest.
Meanwhile, all-time controversial figure Ram Gopal Varma, who directed the controversial Vangaveeti, set against the backdrop of Vijayawada incidents, took to Facebook to voice his opinion. “Vangaveeti Ranga will be so very proud of his wife and son that he will break dance in heaven,” he posted, triggering outrage from Vangaveeti fans online.
In 1988, over 40 people were killed and property worth several crore rupees were destroyed due to the violence following Ranga's murder in Vijayawada.
The violence only abated after the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister NT Rama Rao made TDP legislator Devineni 'Nehru' Rajasekhar surrender. The then home minister Kodela Sivaprasada Rao also had to resign.
In 2002, a court had acquitted all 33 accused in the Ranga murder case
(With IANS inputs)