800 leaders in custody as Andhra special session for capital shift begins
The entire Amaravati has been under siege by the police, as the Amaravati Joint Action Committee, backed by the TDP and other opposition parties, gave a call for “Chalo Assembly” rally on Monday to protest against the capital shift plan.Updated: Jan 20, 2020 12:26 IST
A three-day special session of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly begins Monday to pass the bills to move the state’s administrative capital to Visakhapatnam even as several opposition leaders have been put under house arrest sensing trouble.
Before the session at 11 am, the state cabinet met under the leadership of YSR Congress party president and chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy in the state secretariat to formally approve the bill seeking repeal of AP Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) Act that paved away for development of Amaravati as the state capital.
The state cabinet also approved another bill on “decentralisation of administration for balanced development of all regions of Andhra Pradesh,” which aims at formation of three capitals with executive capital at Visakhapatnam.
The entire Amaravati has been under siege by the police, as the Amaravati Joint Action Committee, backed by the TDP and other opposition parties, gave a call for “Chalo Assembly” rally on Monday to protest against the capital shift plan.
An unprecedented clampdown was imposed in 29 villages of Amaravati, as the police did not allow the farmers to come out on the streets to register their protests. Massive security arrangements were made around the Secretariat and Assembly complex at Velagapudi with over 2,500 police personnel.
South Coastal Zone-Guntur range Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vineet Brijlal said instructions had been issued to all SPs and officers to take all measures to ensure smooth conduct of the assembly session and safety of the members and see that there were no breakdown of law and order.
The police served notices on TDP leaders and farmers not to stage any protest on the road leading to the Assembly as prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC and Section 30 of the Police Act were in force.
Police forces from various wings, including special police parties, Octopus teams, dog squad, bomb disposal squad and intelligence security wing, were pressed into service. Drones were used to identify people who were planning to come out in large numbers to protest.
According to a police official, as many as 57 TDP leaders were kept under house arrest not only in Vijayawada, Guntur and Amaravati regions, but also in different parts of the state where leaders were planning to take out rallies in protest against the three capital plan.
“Around 800 leaders, including those from TDP, the CPI and Amaravati JAC were taken into preventive custody,” the police said.
Around 700 police were deployed at Prakasam Barrage bridge in the wake of the Chalo Assembly. The bridge was closed as part of security. The police almost cordoned the Amaravati region and let everyone only after thoroughly checking their identity.
The people of 29 villages lodged their protests by hoisting black flags atop their houses and displayed save Amaravati slogans. The villagers lamented that a war-like situation was created in the region.
TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu strongly condemned the preventive arrests and house arrests. “The detention of the leaders of the TDP and JAC is a cowardly act, “ Naidu asserted and demanded that the arrested leaders be released unconditionally.