Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu and his son Nara Lokesh were put under house arrest on Wednesday at Undavalli in Amaravati after they made an attempt to proceed to Guntur district as part of the party's 'Chalo Atmakur' call against alleged eviction of some villagers. Subsequently, several TDP leaders were also detained, while the ruling YSRCP attempted to launch a similar rally of its own.
Defending their actions, Director General of Police (DGP) D Gautam Sawang issued a statement saying Naidu was taken into "preventive custody" as "his actions are increasing tensions and creating disturbance to law and order" in the Palnadu region. The TDP chief wanted to lead a group of people belonging to Palnadu of Guntur district to a village called Atmakuru.
A large contingent of police tied the main entrance gate of Naidu's riverfront residence with ropes and also shut other gates to prevent him from coming out.
Talking to reporters inside the compound, the former chief minister termed the police action as "atrocious" and "unprecedented in history."
"The situation is horrible. Many of our party leaders, including MPs and MLAs, have been taken into custody at various places. Several others were kept under house arrest. All this held mirror to the nefarious mentality of the ruler (Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy)," Naidu remarked.
తెదేపా అధ్యక్షులు @ncbn తలపెట్టిన చలో ఆత్మకూరు కార్యక్రమాన్ని పోలీసులు అడ్డుకుంటున్నారు. శాంతియుతంగా నిరసన తెలియజేయాలని బయలుదేరిన చంద్రబాబును బయటకి రానివ్వకుండా, ఇంటి ద్వారాలని మూసివేశారు.#ChaloAtmakur#ThuglaqRaj#YSJaganFailedCM pic.twitter.com/uGe1G2CZHn
— Telugu Desam Party (@JaiTDP) September 11, 2019
The Leader of Opposition in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly announced that he would not give up and certainly undertake the Atmakur visit whenever police allowed him.
Alleging that about 120 Scheduled Caste families had been driven out of their village by the YSR Congress and police, he said, "They (villagers) are taking shelter in a camp organised by the TDP. I wanted to take them back to the village and ensure that everyone there lived in harmony."
"I will see how long they will keep me under house arrest. I will not be cowed down. I will stand by the victims and fight for their rights," Naidu asserted.
TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu: This government is violating human rights & fundamental rights. I am warning the government. I am warning police also. You cannot play this type of politics. You cannot control us by arresting. Whenever they allow me, I'll continue 'Çhalo Atmakur' pic.twitter.com/XhQfwxDR0Z
— ANI (@ANI) September 11, 2019
Countering the TDP chief's claims, state Animal Husbandry Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana said Naidu was indulging in "shameless politics" by using "paid artists" as victims. "For five years, people of Palnadu region faced repression at the hands of the then Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao and Gurazala MLA Y Srinivasa Rao. What did Naidu do then? Palnadu is now peaceful after Jagan Mohan Reddy became chief minister," Ramana pointed out.
How the drama unfolded
Wednesday morning saw the police laying seige to the TDP president's residence on the Krishna river bank in view of party's call for ‘Chalo Atmakur’ rally. Naidu condemned the attempts to obstruct his rally and announced that he will sit on a hunger strike from 8 am to 8 pm on Wednesday. Both Naidu and his son were not allowed to come out of their residence, following which the latter picked up an argument with the police officials. Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas (Nani) and Rajya Sabha member K Ravindra Kumar were detained by the police on the Prakasam Barrage as they tried to proceed towards Naidu's house. Telugu Desam Deputy Leader K Atchannaidu, who managed to reach Naidu's residence area on a two-wheeler, was stopped from going in and later taken into custody.
Andhra Pradesh: TDP leaders and workers who were trying to go to Chandrababu Naidu's residence stopped by police and taken into preventive custody. pic.twitter.com/Ionmrkf9CR — ANI (@ANI) September 11, 2019
In Vijayawada city, police barged into the five-star hotel room, where former minister Bhuma Akhila Priya was staying, and took her into custody. Several other leaders were either placed under house arrest or taken into custody by police.
TDP MPs Ram Mohan Naidu K and Jayadev Galla lashed out at the YSRC government on Twitter for the preventive detention of their party leaders.
Opposition leader in house arrest, his house literally being tied up. Since TDP demands justices for victims of @YSRCParty. Is this what giving 151 seats to @ysjagan means? Fundamental rights being violated of someone like @ncbn garu, can commoners expect justice #ChaloAtmakur pic.twitter.com/2JY5Z8Q3Fk
— Ram Mohan Naidu K (@RamMNK) September 11, 2019
By putting the @JaiTDP leaders under #housearrest & restricting the victims from protesting against the violation of their freedoms, the YCP Govt is denying the people their fundamental rights given by the #Constitution of #India.
— Jay Galla (@JayGalla) September 11, 2019
Simultaneously, some leaders of the ruling YSR Congress were also detained in Guntur as they, too, gave a call for a similar 'Chalo Atmakur' rally as a counter to the TDP. The police denied permission for the rally to both sides and clamped prohibitory orders in some areas under Section 144.
A large police force has been deployed in Atmakur and also in Palnadu region to prevent untoward incidents.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Sep 11, 2019 18:09:14 IST