Visakhapatnam: Inspired by Tamil Nadu’s recent Jallikattu protests, thousands of people tried to reach the iconic RK Beach on Thursday to take part in the silent protest demanding Special Category Status for AP, which has been denied by the Centre. However, they were detained by the police at various places in the city before they could reach the beach. The protest was called by an unknown group on social media platforms a few days ago.
Curfew-like conditions prevailed in and around RK Beach on Thursday. Hundreds of police and other security forces fanned out across the city to prevent protestors from entering the beach road to participate in the proposed silent protest. All roads leading to the RK Beach were blocked and there was tight security at busy junctions in the city.
Leaders of various political parties were taken into preventive custody from Wednesday midnight. It was like Visakhapatnam city was virtually in the hands of security forces. Despite all the curbs, crowds of mainly young people marched towards the beach road where they were detained. They made a symbolic protest by tying black ribbons before being taken away in police vehicles. CPM workers were also detained at City Central Park when they tried to take out a rally.
Actors support only ‘virtual’
The groundswell of support by the Tollywood fraternity to Thursday’s silent protest demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh was confined only to the ‘virtual world’, as only Sampoornesh Babu, a low-budget movie hero from Telangana state, and producer Thammareddy Bharadhwaja turned up at Vizag. They were detained by the police at Vuda park, when they tried to go to RK Beach. Actor and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, too, remained confined to the Twitter world. However, members of his political outfit took part in the protest.
“Though I am a Telangana man, I support special status for AP and came all the way to Vizag from Hyderabad. I extend my solidarity to the cause. Everyone should support them,” said Sampoornesh Babu. Actors Sundeep Kishan, Navdeep, Nikhil Siddharth, Gopichand, Nani, Varun Tej, Sai Dharam Tej, Siva Balaji, Sivaji, musician Raghu Kunche, directors Tammareddy Bharadhwaj, Srinivas Avasarala, S.S. Raja-mouli and a few others, including Pawan Kalyan’s former wife Renu Desai, had pledged their support for the protest. Film director Ram Gopal Varma tweeted: “Any celebrity, if they don't immediately join @PawanKalyan in his fight for the people's problems, they are criminal traitors of AP.”