Bandh for spl category status to AP marred by protestor death

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 25, 2018 12:18 PM IST

Amaravat: A bandh called by the main Opposition party YSR Congress against the Centre's denial of special category status to Andhra Pradesh evoked mixed response across the State as a YSRC worker collapsed and died in West Godavari district.

YSRC activist Durga Rao collapsed on the Buttayagudem police station premises when he came running along with fellow workers after former MLA T Balaraju was taken into custody.

A heart patient, he fell down on reaching the police station and died while being taken to hospital, police said.

YSRC president and Leader of Opposition Y S Jaganmohan Reddy expressed grief over Rao's death. He alleged that it was a result of police high-handedness.

Former MP Y V Subba Reddy visited the bereaved family. While the YSRC claimed the bandh was a 'success', the ruling Telugu Desam party dubbed it "total failure."

With the ruling Telugu Desam Party opposing the bandh this time, there was a virtual clampdown on the protesters with police detaining YSRC leaders at several places.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu sought to know what would the YSRC achieve by enforcing a bandh in the State.

"Why should the State be penalised for the follies of the Centre? What is the use for calling bandhs instead of fighting with the Centre?" he asked.

In Chittoor district, YSRC legislators R K Roja and Narayanaswamy were taken into custody at Puttur as they attempted to take out a rally with their supporters.

In Kurnool district, Public Accounts Committee chairman Buggana Rajendranath Reddy and other leaders were taken into custody.

In Visakhapatnam, former minister Botsa Satyanarayana was taken into custody, while in Tirupati party general secretary Bhumana Karunakara Reddy was detained.

MLA P Ramakrishna Reddy was placed under house arrest at Macherla in Guntur district, while several top leaders of YSRC were taken into custody in Guntur city, Repalle, Sattenapalli and Narsaraopet, police said.

In other districts as well, YSRC leaders were detained as they tried to enforce the bandh.

Educational institutes declared a holiday in view of the bandh call, while State Road Transport Corporation buses were operated in limited numbers.

In Vijayawada city, YSRC activists staged a protest outside the RTC bus station and tried to prevent their movement, but police rounded them up and took them to a nearby police station.

YSRC workers staged protests at various police stations against the detention of their leaders.

Meanwhile, TDP State president and power minister K Kala Venkata Rao said the YSRC bandh was a "total failure."

"Any agitation without peoples support will end in failure," he remarked.

The TDP had withdrawn its ministers from the central government and later walked out of the NDA, alleging that the Centre had failed to fulfil its promise of special category status to Andhra Pradesh.