Hyderabad: Agitators belonging to the Kapu caste set fire to Ratnachal Express when it halted at Tuni railway station in East Godavari district on Sunday afternoon, they were protesting to demand their caste for inclusion in the backward class.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made today and reinforcements sent to East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, where a stir by Kapu community members seeking reservation under Backward Class category turned violent.
Senior police officials, who rushed to Tuni in the district where the agitators went on a rampage setting on fire a passenger train, a police station, police and private vehicles yesterday, took stock of the situation.
They inspected the Tuni police station and others which were at the receiving end of the agitators.
“Many policemen, 10-15 have been injured. We are taking details and registering individual cases. There are no deaths. Forces have come in large numbers. We are deploying force in all places. We restrained (policemen) yesterday,” a senior police official told reporters in East Godavari district.
Violence on such a large scale was not expected, he said. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation with ministers and officials in Vijayawada.
State Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana found fault with former minister Mudragada Padmanabham, the leader of the agitation, for not conducting the stir in a “democratic and peaceful” way.
Meanwhile, the South Central Railway today cancelled some trains and rescheduled others in the wake of the agitators setting the Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam Ratnachal Express on fire yesterday.
YSR Congress President and Opposition leader Y S Jaganmmohan Reddy, actor-turned-politician and Janasena Party founder Pavan Kalyan and also Padmanabham are scheduled to address media conferences today.
At least 15 policemen, including a senior district police officer, were injured yesterday when a stir by Kapu community members seeking reservation under Backward Class category turned violent as the agitators went on rampage, set four coaches of Ratnachal Express on fire at Tuni station and blocked the National Highway-16 in East Godavari district.
The protesters withdrew the blockade on the national highway, connecting Kolkata and Chennai, late last night.
Earlier yesterday, the agitators gathered at Tuni to attend a public meeting addressed by Padmanabham, pelted the engine of the train with stones and also attacked police personnel, before ransacking the railway station. Some bogies were also set ablaze.
However, no passenger was injured in the incident as they had alighted from the train before it was set on fire.