Tension as Mudragada removes barricades, leads padayatra

It was a day of several twists and turns in the Kapu movement launched by former Minister Mudragada Padmanabham with the leader launching ‘Padayatra’ on Sunday morning after a series of 31 unsuccessful attempts and the police foiling it at Ramachandrapuram village near Veeravaram, about 6 km from here, and taking him into custody.

High tension prevailed after Mr. Padmanabham removed the barricades in front of his house and launched the yatra with his supporters in the absence of adequate police force to prevent him from leaving the house. Within no time, the number of supporters increased and the padayatra had turned into a mammoth one, alerting the police higher-ups.

After holding two rounds of talks with Mr. Padmanabham, the police arrested him in the evening and kept him in the police jeep at Ramachandrapuram village, where Kapus in large numbers were staging protests decrying the police act and preventing the movement of the police vehicle from leaving the village till late in the evening. They might shift him to Rajamahendravaram by the night.

Like every day, Mr. Padmanabham came out of his house around 10 a.m. and addressed the media accusing Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu of chalking out plans to keep the State in his dynasty’s rule till 2050 by suppressing the powerful Kapu community. He said the Kapus would soon teach a fitting lesson to Mr. Naidu.

Instead of returning to home, Mr. Padmanabham preferred to take to the streets by removing the barricades.

The heavy police protection was reduced with the officials deputing most of the policemen to Kakinada for the Chief Minister’s visit. The few policemen became helpless and alerted their bosses over phones.

As the yatra was stopped by police officials at Rajupalem village, a scuffle took place between them and the activists, in which a few activists including Kapu JAC leader Vasireddi Yesudasu and journalists from the electronic media sustained injuries.

It is suspected that Mr. Padmanabham knew that the police force would be reduced and had planned his step.

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