Hyderabad: Police on Saturday arrested activists of YSR Congress from across Andhra Pradesh while they were staging protests and enforcing a bandh call demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh.
Following a bandh call given by YSRCP president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and supported by all the opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh, the protestors started staging dharnas at bus depots, district headquarters, collectorates and government offices from the early hours of Saturday. They carried placards and banners decrying the attitude of the central government and the double-speak of chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on the issue of Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh. Though, the agitators were carrying out peaceful protests, police at several district headquarters swooped down on them and literally carried them away to the police vans. Several of them were placed on arrest as soon as they reached the protest venues.
People turned up voluntarily in several cities including Tirupati, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam to support the bandh call demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
Protests began at bus depots in all the districts of AP from the wee hours of Saturday, where workers cutting across party lines prevented buses from leaving the depots. People turned by voluntarily in several cities including Tirupati, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam to support the bandh call. Speaking to the media at the protest venues, several of them stated that special category status will increase the job opportunities and pave the way for development of rural areas. “However, Chandrababu Naidu is ignoring the benefits to the people and consequently forcing the people to take to the streets,” they said.
Addressing the media, YSRCP leader Kotam Pratap Reddy said the chief minister has no right to prevent peaceful protests with an iron hand. “If Chandrababu Naidu himself cannot demand the Centre for special category status due to his political compulsions, then he should atleast let the opposition stage dharnas and protests for the demand. He can then show these protests to the Central leadership and highlight the need for special status. The incidents of the last few days clearly indicate that the CM has clearly failed in highlighting the demands of the people and thus their long-term welfare,” he said.