Quota row: Kapu leader Mudragada goes on indefinite hunger strike

A bandh is observed in Kirlampudi village to express solidarity for Mudragada's initiative.

Kakinada: Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham on Friday began an indefinite hunger strike along with his wife Padmavathi at Kirlampudi village in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari District demanding inclusion of Kapu community in Backward Classes category.

At least 15 policemen, including a senior district police officer, were injured on Sunday when a stir by Kapu community members seeking reservation under Backward Class category turned violent as the agitators went on rampage, set four coaches of Ratnachal Express on fire at the Tuni station and blocked the National Highway-16 in East Godavari district.

The protesters later withdrew the blockade on the national highway, connecting Kolkata and Chennai.

Read: Kapus on warpath in Andhra Pradesh for quota

Padmanabham demanded that the Kapu reservation issue be resolved in about three months and that Rs 1,900 crores be given annually for the benefit of the community. He also sought that false cases should not be filed against the community members in connection with the violent incidents that took place when 'Kapu Garjana' (roar of Kapus) public meeting was conducted on Sunday last.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made at Kirlampudi and other villages in East Godavari district in view of the fast by Padmanabham.

Two ruling TDP MLAs Thota Thrimurthulu and Bonda Umamaheswara Rao, who belong to Kapu community, held talks with Padmanabham on Thursday night as part of efforts to end the row.

Read: Forgotten Kapu leader emerges

They, however, said they met Padmanabham in their individual capacity as concerned Kapu legislators and not as government representatives. The two MLAs told me to be flexible in dealing with the government, Padmanabham said.

Before going on fast, Padmanabham said that he had waited for some positive response from government till the last minute but decided to continue his stir, unmindful of the consequences till his demand was considered.

"My life is dedicated to my Kapu community welfare and nothing would deter me from my determination," he said.

Read: Chandrababu Naidu responsible for violence at Tuni, says Kapu leader

The Kapu leader also appealed people not to come to Kirlampudi, but to take up the fast staying in their houses by skipping their lunch and hitting the plates with spoons, so that its echo reaches the ears of the chief minister.

Read: Kapu violence in AP attributed to failure of intelligence agencies

Meanwhile, police have cordoned off all the passages to Padmanabham's house and restricted the entry of outsiders. Superintendent of Police, East Godavari, Ravi Prakash was supervising the security at Kirlampudi, where Padmanabham's house has been kept under strict surveillance.

Earlier, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday asked Justice (retired) Manjunatha, chairman of the government appointed commission to look into the issues of backward classes and submit the report at the earliest. The commission was supposed to submit report in about nine months.

Read: Kapu protests turn violent in Tuni, AP CM calls for emergency meet

As many as 63 cases have been registered in this connection by police for rioting, arson, criminal conspiracy, holding meeting without permission, violating preventive orders and causing damage to public property, attacking the policemen on duty without provocation, damaging railway property besides torching private and police vehicles.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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