Violence in Andhra town over renaming district after Ambedkar

Hyderabad: Protesters set fire to Andhra Pradesh Minister Pinipe Viswarup’s residence at Amalapuram on Tuesday during the ‘Chalo Konaseema’ march against the proposal to rename Konaseema district as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Konaseema district.

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Several police personnel and demonstrators were injured during the clash. Protestors also set fire to a police car and a private bus after stone-pelting targeting police officers, according to media reports.

By the afternoon, protesters from various locations attempted to march toward the Collectorate in Amalapuram via the town’s Clock Tower region. They were initially stopped by the cops. Later, the demonstrators began throwing stones at the vehicles of the SP and the Amalapuram DSP. During the altercation, DSP Y Madhava Reddy reportedly passed out.

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The youth also pelted stones on police near Amalapuram Area Hospital. Superintendent of Police K.S.S.V Subba Reddy escaped in the stone pelting but some police personnel were injured. Police resorted to baton charge to control the situation.

Home Minister T Anita condemned the violence. She said anti-social elements were leading the protesters. She said it was unfortunate that the decision to name the district after the father of the Indian Constitution Dr Ambedkar was opposed.

The home minister claimed that the decision was taken at the request of the people.

The Konaseema district was carved out from East Godavari with Amalapuram as its headquarters.

It was one of the 13 districts created on April 4, taking the total number of districts in the state to 26.

The government had named some of the districts after prominent personalities like freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju, former chief minister and TDP founder Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, who was popular as NTR. Similarly, two new districts were named after saint composer Tallapaka Annamacharya (Annamayya) and Satya Sai Baba (Sri Satya Sai).

The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government headed by Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had come under criticism from Dalit groups and others for not naming a district after Ambedkar.

The state government on May 18 issued a notification inviting objections and suggestions on the proposal to rename the Konaseema district after Dr Ambedkar. It sought suggestions and objections from the people residing within Konaseema.

People have been urged to send objections and suggestions, if any, to Konaseema district collector within 30 days.

However, opposing the proposal, KSS had called for protests. The police had imposed prohibitory orders in the town in view of the protest call.

With inputs from IANS.

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