Kakinada: Tension prevailed in East Godavari district after police took Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham into custody on Sunday, a couple of hours after he left his house and began his long pending padayatra to Amavarati.
Mr Padmanabham had set off from his house at Kirlampudi at about 10.30 am, and reached Ramachandrapuram, 12 km away, where he was taken into custody at 3.30 pm.
The police then proceeded to take him back home in a van. On the way, protsters lay down on the road to stop the vehicle from moving. Progress was slow and reports at 10.30 pm said the National Highway was blocked by agitators, and that it would take another hour to take Mr Padmanabham back to his house.
Late at night, protesters began burning tyres to prevent the police from moving forward. Mr Padmanabham got down from the vehicle and asked the protesters to maintain law and order. The crowds gave way after his appeal, but groups of people elsewhere on the highway kept blocking he vehicle
Observers said Mr Padmanabham had scored a political point by embarking on his padayatra on Sunday while Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was staying at Kakinada and campaigning for the civic polls scheduled for Tuesday.
Mr Padmanabham, who was prevented for more than a month from undertaking his padayatra, broke through the police cordon at his house and set off on the padayatra, accompanied by thousands of protesters.
A police force led by superintendent of police Vishal Gunni tried to stop him between Ramachan-drapuram and Rajupalem but women agitators surrounded the police and abused them.
Amidst all this, Mr Padmanabham reached Veeravaram, the native place of Kakinada MP Thota Narasimham. There he turned right, towards Ramachandrapuram. The road to the right would have led to Kakinada, where Mr Naidu was campaigning.
Earlier, agitators scuffled with police at Kirlampudi, the hometown of Mr Padmanabham. Kapu JAC state coordinator V.Y. Das was injured in the melee and Deputy Inspector General, Eluru range, P.V.S. Ramakrishna was pushed into bushes....