Jagan's yatra triggers violence in Andhra

Jagan's yatra triggers violence in Andhra

Congress MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy begins his Odarpu yatra to Warangal district in Hyderabad on Friday. PTI

The yatra was taken up by him to commiserate with the families of those who died on hearing about the sudden death of his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy in an air crash last September.

Violence broke out in Mahbubabad in Warangal district to protest against the visit of  Jaganmohan Reddy. Eleven people were hospitalised with bullet injuries. Two among them are in serious condition.

The firing occurred  when a gunman of Congress MLA Konda Surekha and Jagan supporter opened fire at a stone-throwing crowd at the Mahbubabad railway station. The MLA was waiting there with two other public representatives to receive Jagan. Several people,  including policemen, were also injured in the stone-throwing incident.

The police resorted to tear gassing and firing to quell the mob. Agitators damaged the railway signalling system and threw burning tyres onto the  tracks, bringing rail traffic to a halt on the route.

The railway authorities said they had diverted or cancelled 14 trains between Hyderabad and Kazipet. However, Jagan was arrested at Vangapalli railway station before he reached Mahbubabad and was taken to Hyderabad. This news enraged his supporters who went on a rampage in Rayalaseema districts, especially in his home district of Kadapa.

A bandh has been called for Saturday in Rayalaseema and Telangana  by different groups to protest against Friday’s developments.

More drama was witnessed immediately after the news of Jagan’s arrest came in. Konda Surekha attempted suicide in front of journalists by gulping some pills after blaming the  leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samiti for provoking the people. She was rushed to hospital even as some wondered where she got the pills from. MLA supporter Padmavati, too, had to be hospitalised as she reportedly suffered a heart seizure.

Jagan set off on a train on Friday morning despite advice from the Congress high command to cancel his trip to Mahbubabad in Warangal district, about 200 km from here.
The advice came in response to a representation by Congress MPs from Telangana that the yatra would damage the party’s interests in the region. The TRS had threatened to obstruct his yatra since he and his late father were against statehood for Telangana. Director-General of Police Girish Kumar denied the rumours that one person had died in the firing by the gunmen of MLA Surekha.

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