Violence erupts during Rayalaseema tour of Chandrababu Naidu; party activists, cops hurt

Several TDP and YSRCP workers were injured in the violence. Police personnel were also grievously injured and their vehicles were torched.

BySNV Sudhir

Published Aug 05, 2023 | 1:59 AM Updated Aug 05, 2023 | 2:00 AM

TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and other leaders have alleged YSRCP of voter name deletion. (Supplied)

Violence erupted at two places — in the Annamayya and Chittoor districts — in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh on Friday, 4 August, during TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu’s tour

Several TDP and YSRCP workers were injured in the violence. Police personnel were also grievously injured and their vehicles were torched.

The police had to use force and fire tear gas to disperse the agitating crowd.

Two days ago, tensions flared up during Naidu’s visit to YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s hometown Pulivendula as well as TDP and YSRCP became involved in a scuffle.

Also read: 8 killed in stampede at TDP roadshow of Chandrababu Naidu

Naidu’s rally diverted

As part of his ongoing “Yudha Bheri” campaign, Naidu on Friday visited the incomplete lift irrigation works of the Nayani Lake in the Annamayya district.

Addressing the gathering, the TDP supremo expressed serious concerns, claiming the atrocities of the MLA of Thamabalapalle had far exceeded all limits.

When Naidu was moving to the Angallu village after visiting the lake, some YSRCP workers used black flags to protest against his comments against the YSRCP MLA. They tried to create trouble by attempting to attack those who are present there.

The protests led to high tension as TDP and YSRCP workers clashed with sticks and stones. Police personnel were also injured in the stone-pelting. This, even as Naidu was looking to visit Punganur.

Warning the state’s mining minister — Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy from the Chittoor district — of serious consequences if such violence continued, former chief minister Naidu said he felt that it was quite clear from the recent developments that the days of the YSRCP were numbered.

“Every drop of blood of my activists is like my blood. Why are you resorting to such violence? What mistake have we made?” Naidu asked.

Making it clear that he was also the son of Chittoor soil, the TDP supremo asked why the TDP flags are damaged.

Daring the local YSRCP leaders to come before him without police support, the former chief minister said he felt that the cops in the area should come out of their uniforms and act like YSRCP activists.

Calling upon the TDP activists not to let any such attack go unanswered, Naidu made it clear that he was ready to come to Punganur and asked Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy to face him there.

Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy represents the Punganur assembly segment. It has been his family’s bastion.

Later, Naidu moved to Punganur through a bypass road. Claiming that there is no permission given to Naidu, the police denied him entry into Punganuru even as heavy barricading was done.

Irate over being denied entry by the police, TDP workers went berserk and started pelting stones at the police. In retaliation, police resorted to lathi-charge.

Also read: Andhra bans meetings and rallies on roads; TDP cries foul

The violence

“The incident of fierce stone-pelting and attack on police was reported on the way to Punganur where over 20 police personnel were attacked, including the deputy superintendent of police (DSP),” said the Chittoor district’s Superintendent of Police (SP) Y Rishanth Reddy.

“The initial reports suggested that the reason for the altercation was a derogatory statement made by N Chandrababu Naidu while addressing a rally in Mulakalacheruvu in the Annamaya district, in the morning,” he added.

“He made scathing statements against the Thamballepalli MLA, calling him ‘Ravana’. As a repercussion of the statement, YSRCP workers blocked roads as a sign of protest while Naidu was on his way for the public meeting in Angallu in the Chittoor district,” he explained.

“This led to TDP workers pelting stones at YSRCP cadres. In the ensuing violence, many YSRCP and TDP cadres sustained injuries,” said the SP.

He added that the police resorted to lathi-charge and dispersed the crowd.

On reaching the public meeting site, Naidu is said to have again instigated the TDP cadres to attack the YSRCP workers and the police. He even reportedly insulted DSP by making derogatory statements against him.

The TDP workers again pelted stones at YSRCP cadres, injuring several of them.

“On anticipating a law-and-order problem at Naidu’s next rally at Punganur, the police barricaded the town entrance and diverted the roadshow via a bypass,” said the SP.

“But, the already-present TDP cadres who were awaiting his arrival attacked the police and burnt a bus and a vajra vehicle. Over 20 bandobast staff were injured in the attack. To control the crowd, tear gas shells were fired but the TDP workers continued to attack the police. More details are awaited,” added Rishanth Reddy.