A flash protest by the Kapu community demanding inclusion in the backward classes list turned violent on Sunday with the protestors setting a train on fire, damaging a railway station and a police station and blocking rail and road traffic in Andhra Pradesh.
Several bogies of the Ratnachal Express were set on fire by violent protestors seeking inclusion in the Backward Class list. The agitators also damaged police vehicles in the area.
The protestors resorted to stone pelting, injuring several railway and police officials. An emergency helpline (0891-2575083) has been set up at the Visakhapatnam Railway station.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has called for an emergency meet to discuss the issue. The protestors claimed that the Chief Minister failed to keep his promise to Kapu community to include them in the Backward Classes List, and only formed a commission to look into the demands of the community. Meanwhile, Naidu said, “I am appealing all to maintain law and order. Appealing protesters to cooperate with police. Government will deal firmly with the violators, no question of compromise.”
The protestors defended their action claiming that they retaliated after the police provoked them by resorting to lathi charge. “Chandrababu is solely responsible for present situation as he has driven Kapus to streets in frustration by giving them false promises of inclusion in BC category. Let the CM realise the gravity of the situation,” Padmanabh said at the meeting.
The agitating members had also set fire the Ratnachal Express on fire. They resorted to stone pelting, injuring four railway officials. Some trains have been delayed following the commotion.
The train was stopped at 15:20 hrs between Tuni and Hamsavaram railway stations by Kapunadu Garjana agitators who sat on the tracks, climbed on the train and damaged hose pipe and glasses of the coach.
Earlier, members of Kapu community took to the streets and blocked railway lines and highways in Andhra Pradesh seeking inclusion in Backward Class.
The Kapu Aaikya Garjana meet (Unity meet) saw members of the Kapu community assembling on large scale led by their leader Mudragada Padmanabham.
The Kapu State Committee had organised ‘Kapu Garjana’ (Kapu road) public meeting at Tuni to protest the delay in declaring the community a backward caste.
Kapus constitute 26% of Andhra Pradesh’s five crore population. Telugu actor-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi, former central minister Dasari Narayan Rao, former Congress leader Botsa Satyanarayana belong to Kapu community.