The district administration had few options but to impose Section 144 today on the Amalapuram town of Andhra Pradesh after the police’s lathi-charge at people who were protesting near the district collector’s office against the proposed renaming of the newly-created Konaseema district as BR Ambedkar Konaseema district led to arson. Over 20 police personnel have sustained injuries as the mob pelted stones during the violence.
The mob set a police vehicle and an education centre’s bus on fire.
The mob attacked State Minister P Viswaroop’s house too and vandalised the property. The minister’s family members escaped unhurt as the police had moved them to a safe place. Also, the house of a ruling YSR Congress MLA Ponnada Satish met with arsonists’ ire in District Konaseema.
Alleging that some political parties and anti-social elements had “instigated” the arson, Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Taneti Vanitha said, “It is unfortunate that over 20 police personnel sustained injuries in the incident. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and bring the culprits to book.”
On 4 April, the new district of Konaseema had been carved out of the former East Godavari district. Last week, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government issued a preliminary notification seeking to rename Konaseema as BR Ambedkar Konaseema and invited objections, if any, from the people of Andhra Pradesh.
The Konaseema Sadhana Samiti objected to the proposed renaming of the district and wanted the name Konaseema retained. The samiti organised a protest today and sought to submit a memorandum to the district collector Himanshu Shukla against the renaming.
Police tried to quell the protest, which reportedly infuriated the activists, and the situation went out of control.