Police have made elaborate arrangements in Tuni, in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh to control the situation erupted after a Kapu reservation agitation on Sunday turned violent. Members of Kapu community, mostly living in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, North Telangana, are seeking implementation of TDP’s poll promise of giving them backward caste status.
The Kapu Reservation Movement aimed for the backward status for kapu’s became destructive after thousands of agitators turned up at the Tuni railway station and set seven bogies of Ratnachal Express on fire. The incident lead panic-stricken passengers run helter-skelter in the midway of their journey in Ratnachal Express. However, no passenger was injured in the incident.
The ‘Kapu Aikya Garjana’ is convened by former MLA Mudragada Padmanabham who called upon the agitators to blockade roads and railway tracks until the community gets Backward Caste (BC) reservations. The community currently falls under Other Caste (OC) category.
Senior police officials, who rushed to Tuni in the district this morning to take stock of the situation told the press that there have been no deaths.
State ADG of Police (Law and Order) R P Thakur said “They have set on fire four bogies of the train, besides damaging some police vehicles and torching two. Our people are trying to control the situation. Additional forces have been rushed to the spot.”
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu who was busy in Municipal election campaign rushed to Vijayawada and held an emergency meet with cabinet to review the situation.
“Shocked and saddened by the incident at Tuni. We are closely monitoring the situation. Responsible people will be taken to justice. I am committed for the reservation for Kapu community for which a Judicial Commission was also constituted,” Naidu told reporters.
He also said reservation benefits would be extended to the community without exceeding the total reservation by 50 per cent as per the decision of the Supreme Court
Opposition parties have reacted to the situation in Tuni blaming Chandrababu Naidu for mis-handling the situation. YSRCP President and Leader of the Opposition in State Assembly Jagan Moghan Reddy said: “Chandrababu has created unrest in Tuni just to blame YSRCP. His recent press meet is a bundle of cliches. He failed to tell what he will do for the Kapus.”
As a result of the protest, several trains running on the Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada route are running very late, while the South Central Railway today cancelled some trains and rescheduled others in the wake of the incident.
Meanwhile the Kapu agitation leader Mudragada Padmanabham has decided to sit on an indefinite fast. “I will continue the indefinite fast even if I am put in jail. The government is conspiring to create a terrible atmosphere and to defame Kapu communit,” said Padmanabham.
He also said that “bad elements” encouraged by ruling TDP were responsible for tuni incident and alleged that the TDP government tried to suppress his agitation by creating obstacles to the public meeting.