TDP chief Naidu, son detained as they attempt to take out rally
They were about to launch ‘Chalo Atmakuru’ to protest attacks on party workers
Amid high drama, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu and his son Nara Lokesh were placed under preventive detention at their residence at Undavalli, near here, on Wednesday.
The police detained them to foil their plan to take out a ‘Chalo Atmakuru’ rally to protest against alleged attacks on TDP workers and sympathisers by YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) members. The police locked the main gate of his residence from outside as he tried to leave for Atmakuru, a village in the Palnadu region of Guntur district, earlier known for political factionalism.
Mr. Naidu alleged that 125 people belonging to the Scheduled Tribes, the Scheduled Castes and minority communities were targeted by YSRCP workers, forcing them to leave Atmakuru.
Tension prevailed at his residence as the police neither allowed his convoy to move out of the house, nor that of Mr. Lokesh, who tried to leave in another vehicle.
Mr. Lokesh was also detained and sent back into the house as TDP leaders and workers, who had gathered at the spot, chanted slogans against the government and the police.
Several TDP leaders and workers were either detained in their houses or taken into preventive custody in Vijayawada and Guntur when they “tried to violate prohibitory orders by coming on to the roads”.
Condemning the “police high-handedness”, Mr. Naidu said: “Today is a black day in the history of Andhra Pradesh. This government is violating human rights and the fundamental rights of the people. We are forced to stage a protest as the government failed to act against YSRCP cadre who are attacking TDP workers and supporters in villages. Atmakuru village stands out as a symbol of these attacks.”
‘Victims of attacks’
Mr. Naidu said he had planned to go to Atmakuru on Wednesday to drop these villagers back at their homes and infuse confidence in them. All these “victims of YSRCP attacks” were given shelter in a rehabilitation camp run by the TDP in Guntur town for over a week. Yet the government and the police did not take any step to restore peace in their village, he claimed.
The police on Wednesday did not allow TDP workers to even supply food to them in the camp, he alleged. “This rally is to express solidarity with them and we will take it out whenever the police allow us to do so.” Speaking to reporters outside his residence, Mr. Naidu said: “I am warning this government, you cannot control us by arresting us. You cannot play this kind of politics.”
For several days now, he had been alleging that 10 party leaders were murdered and 500 incidents of attacks on party wokers and supporters had occurred across the State in the first 100 days of YSRCP rule.
The second part of the drama was witnessed at the rehabilitation camp with police swinging into action and evicting the ‘victims’ from there. They were then escorted to five villages, including Atmakuru, in five buses under police protection. Many TDP leaders who tried to prevent the police from entering the premises were arrested.
Former Ministers Prathipati Pulla Rao and Nakka Ananda Babu were placed under house arrest at their homes in Chilakaluripet and in Guntur. Former MLA Alapati Rajendra Prasad was allowed to come to the rehabilitation camp but by afternoon, he along with other leaders were moved to Nallapadu police station.
Director-General of Police (DGP) D. Gautam Sawang said that Mr. Naidu was ‘detained at his house’, as he announced he would defy the prohibitory orders.
Enacting drama: YSRCP
The YSRCP slammed the TDP for enacting a “drama, hiring paid artistes”, and said the situation in Palnadu was peaceful and the people there had been living in peace for the last 100 days after “our government took over.”
Under house arrest: Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu with supporters at his residence at Undavalli, near Vijayawada, on Wednesday.