‘Like protests in Delhi’: Amaravati farmers’ plan against 3-capital move
Inspired by tens of thousands of farmers gathered at several points on Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh protesting against the three agricultural marketing reform laws, the farmers of Amaravati, the present capital city of Andhra Pradesh, are planning to intensify their agitation against three-capital plan of the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government.
Starting Saturday, the farmers, under the umbrella of Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi joint action committee, launched a six-day long agitation, which would culminate in a massive public meeting on December 17 at Uddandarayunipalem village, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid foundation stone for Amaravati on October 22, 2015.
The public meeting marks the completion of one-year of agitation by Amaravati farmers, as it was on this day last year that chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced the formation of three capitals for Andhra Pradesh in the state assembly.
“After the public meeting, we shall come out with a concrete action plan to mount pressure on the Jagan government to drop the three-capital plan,” JAC convenor A Siva Reddy told Hindustan Times.
Reddy hinted that the farmers of Amaravati would take out rallies and block the national highways. “Our movement will be on the lines of ongoing farmers’ agitation in Delhi. How we shall go about it shall be decided after the December 17 meeting,” he said.
On Saturday, more than 5,000 farmers took out a silent padayatra (foot march) from Shubham Function Hall to Dr BR Ambedkar statue in Guntur town highlighting their demand for retention of Amaravati as the state capital.
On December 14, the JAC would hold a “Kisan Sammelan,” where the farmers would come out with a charter of demands. This would be followed by another silent padayatra in Vijayawada city on December 15.
“It is a do-or-die battle for us. In the last one year, the Jagan government has used all tactics to crush the Amaravati protection movement. Hundreds of farmers were booked in false cases, arrested, hand-cuffed and physically assaulted. What is worse, the government itself is instigating counter-agitation by paid artists from other regions in support of three capitals,” the JAC leader said.
Several opposition parties, including Telugu Desam Party, the Congress, Jana Sena, CPI and CPI (M) have extended their support to the week-long agitation of the Amaravati farmers.
TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu called upon the party cadre to take part in the week-long agitation of farmers. “They have sacrificed 34,000 acres of land for the construction of a world-class capital city at Amaravati. Their sacrifices should not go to waste,” Naidu said.
He asked the TDP cadres to explain to the people how the YSRCP government had ruined Amaravati project and stalled the development completely. “We shall stand by the farmers who are putting up a spirited fight for the capital,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state high court has been continuously hearing over 90 petitions filed by JAC and other individuals challenging the legislations enacted by the state government to abolish AP Capital Region Development Authority and formation of three capitals.
“The hearings are expected to be completed in January and we are hopeful of getting a favourable judgment by then. Under any circumstances, we shall fight till the end to see that Amaravati is retained as the capital of Andhra Pradesh,” the JAC convenor said.