Mob sat Andhra Minister’s house on fire to protest District’s name change

HnExpress Bureau Report, Andhra Pradesh : Rioting and arson broke out during protests throughout the day in Andhra Pradesh’s Amalapuram on Tuesday. Protesters torched the house of the Transport Minister of Andhra Pradesh to protest against the renaming of the district. In the incident that took place on Tuesday evening, the minister and his family were shifted to a safe place, but 20 policemen were seriously injured while trying to save them.

On 4 April, East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into Konsima district. Renaming this corner is just the beginning of the debate. When the administration declared Konaseema as BR Ambedkar Konaseema, the local people started opposing it. An irate mob set fire to the homes of the state’s transport minister and an MLA at Amalapuram town in the newly created Konaseema district of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday in protest against the government’s proposal to rename the district after B R Ambedkar.

Police said The minister, Pinipe Viswarup, and the MLA Ponnada Venkata Satish, were unharmed in the attack. Meanwhile, district Superintendent of Police Subba Reddy who went to the spot to review the situation, also tried to disperse the crowds. This saw some of the protesters pelting stones against the police near the Area Hospital and Subba Reddy had a lucky escape. Police then resorted to lathicharge at Nalla Vantena in the town and some policemen as well as protesters were injured in the stone-pelting incident.

IPC 144 section, prohibiting public gatherings, was clamped in the town. “Though there was enough police employment, the situation aggravated with about 4000 people pouring into the streets all of a sudden.” Eluru Range DIG Pala Raju, who is monitoring the status on the ground, told reporters.Eluru range deputy inspector general of police G Pala Raju said additional forces are being rushed from Rajahmundry, Kakinada and neighbouring West Godavari and Krishna districts to Amalapuram to bring the situation under control.

“We have taken several protestors into custody. The situation is under control now,” Raju said. Home minister Taneti Vanitha took stock of the situation in Amalapuram. She said the perpetrators of the violence will not be spared. “Konaseema district was named after the architect of Indian Constitution as per the aspirations of the local people,” she said.Dalit groups had sought that the district be named after Ambedkar when it was being created— the area has a significant Dalit population— However,

following the appeals from Dalit organizations and some local legislators, the state government had last week issued a notification proposing to rename the district after Dr BR Ambedkar. It invited objections, if any, from the public giving a month’s time.“We will investigate to know the parties and persons behind this arson,” home minister Taneti Vanitha said, adding that 20 policemen were injured.

Minister Viswarupu, who represents the Amalapuram assembly constituency, said that the renaming decision was taken after consulting everyone and following the demands, and consents of TDP, BJP, and Jana Sena etc parties.The violence broke out at a time when Chief Minister Reddy is away in Davos for the World Economic Forum meeting. Opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan have appealed for calm.

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