Telugu Desam Party president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his lawmaker son Nara Lokesh have been put under house arrest to prevent them from participating in a huge protest against the ruling state government headed by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. The former chief minister, on hunger strike, termed the police action as “atrocious” and “unprecedented in history.”

The police stopped Naidu and his son Lokesh, who is an MLC, when they were heading to Atmakur village in Palnadu region in Guntur district along with 127 families, who were allegedly assaulted and hounded out of the region by the ruling YSR Congress ranks last month.

The TDP chief had called for a public rally in Atmakur village to express solidarity with the families, who he said, were evicted from their homes for supporting the TDP.

Also Watch | Chandrababu Naidu, Nara Lokesh put under preventive detention by Andhra police


The Andhra Pradesh police, banning the large gatherings in the area, locked up the father-son duo at their residence on the banks of Krishna river at Vundavalli and pasted a notice on the gate which said that the TDP leader cannot leave the premises. The police also put up barricades on the pathway leading to Naidu’s house and tied the front gate with ropes so as to prevent him being driven out of the house.

Furious Naidu ripped into the ruling party, claiming political vendetta. “The situation is horrible. Many of our party leaders, including MPs and MLAs, have been taken into custody at various places. Several were kept under house arrest. It is a black day in the history of the state,” Naidu said, asking TDP leaders and cadres to take up day-long fast in protest.

“All that we wanted to do was to take out a rally and send the victims back to their villages. I don’t understand how it would lead to law and order breakdown,” Naidu said.

The ‘evicted’ villagers had been taking shelter at a “rehabilitation camp” being organised by the TDP at its headquarters in Guntur for the last nine days. This afternoon, the police along with the revenue officials, went to the camp and identified as many as 200 people belonging to five villages from Palnadu region. After a brief probe, the authorities made arrangements for shifting them back to their villages in buses assuring them safety and security.

Earlier in the day, the police resorted to house-arrest of several TDP leaders including MLAs and MPs as a preventive measure. Vijayawada MP Kesineni Nani, former minister Gollapalli Surya Rao, TDP youth wing president Devineni Avinash, MLC Dinesh Reddy and several others were taken into custody at the Prakasam Barrage connecting Vijayawada and Guntur.

Director General of Police Gautam Sawang already declared that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Cr PC had been imposed in Palnadu region and there was no question of allowing any rallies, meetings and demonstrations in the region as it might lead to law and order breakdown.

Meanwhile, the YSR Congress party leaders also sought the police permission to take out a counter rally from Guntur to Atmakur to express their solidary with the villagers who had faced torture and harassment during the TDP regime. The police denied permission to them.

YSRC MLC and spokesman Ummareddy Venkateshwarlu described Naidu’s protests and his attempt to take out a rally to Palnadu as a high drama, only to prove his identity. “The Palnadu region is peaceful, after five years of violent rule by the TDP. But Naidu is trying to spoil the peaceful atmosphere there,” he alleged.

YSRC MLAs from Palnadu region Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy, Kasu Mahesh Reddy, G Srinivas Reddy and Ambati Rambabu challenged Naidu to prove that the YSRC leaders had victimized villagers. “We are ready to go with the TDP leaders to prove their allegations wrong,” they said.

First Published:
Sep 11, 2019 17:15 IST

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