Amaravati shuts down in protest against 3-capital plan; police enforce Section 144
Normal life came to a standstill in 29 villages falling under Amaravati, the capital region of Andhra Pradesh, with people observing a voluntary shutdown in protest against the YSR Congress party government’s proposal to create three capital cities for the state.
Schools, businesses, government offices and hotels have been shut down in the wake of a call for bandh in 29 villages in and around the capital city. The call for the shutdown was given by farmers. Farmers and labourers launched relay hunger strikes in Velagapudi, where the state secretariat is located.
The Thullur police in Amaravati imposed restrictions under Section 144 of Cr PC and Section 34 of the Police Act on Thursday in the entire capital region after the local people called for a bandh.
Hundreds of farmers of Amaravati took to the streets to protest against chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s statement in the assembly that the executive capital would be shifted to Visakhapatnam and judiciary to Kurnool, while confining to Amaravati only the legislative assembly. The farmers demanded that Amaravati be retained as a full-fledged capital.
The police warned the villagers against creating disturbance in the capital region or blocking roads causing inconvenience to commuters. They, however, suggested that the farmers could agitate peacefully. They warned of strict action against those who violated the law.
The police have been heavily deployed in the capital. Tight security was set up in villages within the capital region. Three additional SPs, 10 DSPs, 20 CIs and 30 SIs are monitoring the law and order situation.
However, protestors blocked the roads at several places leading to the secretariat and other offices. A group of Telugu Desam Party workers also staged a Rasta Roko on the Vijayawada–Hyderabad highway, affecting traffic on the national highway. The police dispersed them and restored traffic to normal after a while.
The TDP is strongly opposing the move to bifurcate the capital into three. The BJP has supported a high court in Kurnool but, is opposed to having the legislature and executive at faraway places.
Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan found fault with the CM for making an announcement much before the expert committee tabled its report on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Rayalseema Rights Struggle Committee demanded that temple town Tirupati should be declared as a spiritual capital. “If the government fails to announce a spiritual capital, we will launch a separate Rayalseema movement,” Committee Convener Naveen Kumar Reddy said.