AP: Kapus call off quota protest

Community demands BC status

AP: Kapus call off quota protest
Kapu leaders, who have been demanding reservation under backward class category, on Sunday night called-off their protest, according to media reports.

Community leaders are hopeful of resolving the issue through talks with Andhra Pradesh CM  Chandrababu Naidu.

The agitators allowed resumption of vehicular traffic on the busy highway after Kapu  leader Mudragada Padmanabham withdrew the “rasta roko”. He, however, said that he will resume his indefinite hunger strike on Monday if the government fails to take call on his demands.

Members of the Kapu community went on a rampage on Sunday and set ablaze four coaches of a train and police stations besides causing large-scale damage to public property in the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.

The protestors, who gathered in Tuni following a call given under Kapu Samaikhya Garjana by community leader Mudragada Padmanabham, resorted to stone pelting and injured several railway officials.

Agitators sitting on tracks blocked the Ratnachal Express between Tuni and Hamsavaram railway stations. They then climbed on the train and damaged the hose pipe and window glasses of several coaches. The passengers in the coaches were detrained. Later, four coaches were set ablaze. The fire later spread to other coaches. The train driver averted a major disaster by switching off power. All the passengers were reported safe.

The incident resulted in cancellation of 14 trains on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam route. Secunderabad- Howrah Falaknuma, Amaravati, Yeshwanthpur-Howrah Duronto, Tirupati-Bhuba-neswar, Visakhapatnam-Kakinada passenger and Visakhapatnam-Rajahmundry MEMU passenger were among the cancelled trains. An emergency helpline was set up at Visakhapatnam to help stranded passengers.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu called for an emergency meet to discuss the issue.

He later addressed a press conference here where he called the violence as politically motivated and urged the Kapu community to wait till the commission, set up to look into the issue of Kapu reservation, submits its report.

Naidu blamed the YSRC for the Tuni incident. “The YSRC has been trying to halt development in the state by raking up one issue after another,” he said. He said at least 20 police officers were injured during the clashes.

However, the protesters said the chief minister has failed to keep his promise to extend BC status to Kapu caste and only formed a commission to look into the demands of the community.

Meanwhile, thousands of protestors blocked the Chennai-Kolkata national highway (NH-5), affecting vehicular movement.

Trouble was also reported in Krishna district where Kapus form a large number of the population. Protests spread to Vijayawada and blockades were also reported in Krishnalanka.

Additional police forces have been sent from Visakhapatnam and Rajahmundry to Tuni to bring the situation under control.

Tension prevailed in the region as agitators refused to vacate the national highway till Naidu concedes to their demands.
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