Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham on Friday launched an indefinite fast along with his wife, demanding reservation for the community in education and jobs in Andhra Pradesh.
The former minister and his wife Padmavati began the fast at Kirlampudi in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh at 9am.
They are demanding the state government immediately include Kapus in the list of backward classes (BC) and provide them reservation in education and jobs. They are also seeking Rs1,900 crore for the Kapu corporation.
Stating that he is fighting for the rights of the community, Padmanabham said he was even prepared to lay down his life for the cause.
Doctors were regularly monitoring the health of the couple. Their sugar levels were reported to have come down.
Padmanabham went ahead with the fast, ignoring the appeals by the government to drop his plans. Some leaders of ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had called on him on Thursday to dissuade him.
The Kapu leader said he would continue his fast till the government makes a clear cut announcement to fulfil the poll promise of giving Kapus BC status.
Police have made tight security arrangements at his house and also across the district.
A posse of police personnel and paramilitary forces have been deployed to prevent any violence. Prohibitory orders banning assembly of 10 or more people were imposed in the district. Checkposts have been formed on Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam highway to prevent people from other parts of the state reaching the district.
Massive deployment of forces has been made in Tuni town, which had witnessed large-scale violence on Sunday.
Protestors had set afire a train, two police stations and several vehicles when Padmanabham, while addressing a massive public meeting, had called for road and rail blockade till the government issues an order including Kapus in BCs list.
The government maintains that it is committed to fulfilling the promise. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said the government already constituted a commission, which will submit its report after a detailed study.
Kapus constitute 27 percent of about five crore population of Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, former union minister and well-known filmmaker Dasari Narayan Rao supported Padmanabham’s hunger strike. He found fault with the restrictions on people wanting to gather at the Kapu leader’s house.
Congress MP from Telangana V Hanmantha Rao also visited Padmanabham’s house to show his solidarity for the protest