Unprecedented security arrangements have been made in Visakhapatnam to thwart any attempt by the opposition parties and people’s organisations to hold a rally at Ramakrishna beach on Thursday demanding special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
The call for Jallikattu-type agitation has gone viral on social media with thousands of people declaring their resolve to participate in the rallies. Several film stars have also expressed their solidarity with the movement.
According to reports, police have already started taking agitators into custody even before they entered Visakhapatnam city. Arrests of hundreds of YSR Congress party workers were reported from Anakapalli, Rajahmundry, Kakinada, Paravada and Madhuravada.
While YSR Congress party president and Leader of Opposition in the assembly YS Jaganmohan Reddy declared that he would lead a candlelight rally on the beach road, popular Telugu film hero-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan called for convergence of thousands of youth to take part in the silent rally in support of the demand.
In a series of tweets, Pawan warned the central and state governments that if they stopped the youth from attending the rally, it would create unrest. He also asked the governments to be prepared for a long-drawn battle. Pawan had earlier likened the special package to “rotten laddus.”
The Congress and the Left parties are also gearing up to mobilise their cadre in large numbers for the rallies.
However, the state police made it clear that they would not allow any kind of rallies and agitations not only on RK beach but also elsewhere in the city in the wake of Republic Day celebrations and also the two-day Confederation of Indian Industry Partnership Summit on January 27 and 28.
Director general of police N Sambasiva Rao asserted that it would be impossible to make security arrangement for such a massive public congregations since there is no specific organisation holding the rallies.
“People are planning to converge at RK beach based on the call given on the social media. Who will take responsibility if the protest turns violent?” he asked.
Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu made it clear that his government will not tolerate attempts to create disturbances. He told reporters in Vijayawada that there is no question of allowing anybody to organise any programme without permission.
Naidu alleged that the opposition parties were trying to create problems in Visakhapatnam to disrupt the CII summit.
Visakhapatnam commissioner of police Yoganand said prohibitory orders have been imposed in the city to prevent any kind of agitations. All roads leading to the RK beach have been sealed. Nobody, including media, would be allowed towards beach road without a valid pass or proof of identity.
“More than 1,000 police personnel, besides special party police from Greyhounds and Octopus have been stationed to prevent any breakdown in the law and order,” he said.
The Centre assured a special category status to the state during the passage of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act in February 2014. The Narendra Modi-led government, however, backtracked on its promise on technical grounds and instead, announced a special financial package in September last year.
Opposition parties in the state have been agitating for the status since then.