Amaravati: The day-long Andhra Pradesh bandh called by the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Monday in protest against the arrest of its leader and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in alleged skill development scam continued amid tension and arrests of protesters.
Police placed several TDP leaders under house arrest while scores of functionaries were arrested for protesting on roads.
The shutdown call supported by Jana Sena Party (JSP), CPI, Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS) and some people’s organisations evoked mixed response.
Protests rocked several towns across the state as TDP workers took to streets defying the prohibitory orders banning assembly of four or more persons.
There was high tension at Arundalpet in Guntur when some supporters of ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) armed with sticks attacked JSP and MRPS workers when they were staging a protest against the arrest of the former chief minister.
A police officer said that since there is no permission for bandh, they were arresting those coming out on streets.
Protesters were arrested in Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Kadapa, Nellore, Nandyal, Kurnool, Anantapur, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Eluru, Rajahmundry and other places.
Raising slogans against Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the protesters tried to stop buses of state-owned RTC. This led to clashes with police. Few buses were damaged in stone pelting.
There was tension in Hindupur in Sathya Sai district when a rally by TDP men was stopped by the police. A scuffle broke out between the protesters and police. Police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the protesters.
For a third day in a row, police placed several top leaders of the party under house arrest to foil the protest.
TDP’s state unit president K. Atchannaidu was placed under house arrest in Visakhapatnam. Former Minister P. Pulla Rao was placed under house arrest at Chilakaluripet. Another key leader Buddha Venkanna was arrested in Vijayawada.
Former Minister Paritala Sunitha and Akhila Priya were also placed under house arrest.
TDP MLA Ravikumar was arrested in Bapatla when he was leading a protest in the town. His supporters were also taken into custody.
TDP leader Paritala Sriram was arrested by police in Dharmavaram as he managed to come out of his house despite the house arrest and was leading a protest in the town.
TDP leaders and workers came out on streets at different places, condemning the arrest of Naidu.
Police also clamped prohibitory orders banning rallies, processions and meetings across the state after a court in Vijayawada sent Naidu to judicial custody for 14 days.
Defying Section 144 of CrPC, the TDP cadres took to streets Monday morning to lodge their protest. In Kuppam town of Chittoor district, the TDP workers staged a road blockade by burning tyres and placing boulders on the highway. Police arrested the protestors and shifted them to the police station.
Tension prevailed at the RTC complex in Srikakulam as TDP workers tried to stop RTC buses from plying. Police took the protesters into custody.
TDP men protesting at Atmakur RTC depot in Nellore district were also arrested by the police. Similar protest was held at the RTC bus stand in Vizianagaram district.
In Tirupati, police arrested the TDP leaders, including women who sat on the road, raising slogans against the YSR Congress government.
Police placed Ichchapuram MLA B. Ashok under house arrest. Police personnel were deployed outside his house in Ramayyapeta in Srikakulam district. For a third day, Nellore Rural MLA Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy was kept under house arrest.
TDP state president K. Atchannaidu on Sunday night called for the shutdown after a court in Vijayawada sent Naidu to judicial custody for 14 days.
Atchannaidu said that the bandh call is to protest against the ‘illegal’ arrest of Chandrababu Naidu, brutal attacks on TDP cadres and Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s politics of vendetta.
He appealed to people, organisations to voluntarily participate in the bandh to save democracy.
Naidu was arrested by the CID in Nandyal on Saturday. He was produced before a court in Vijayawada Sunday morning. In an order pronounced in the evening, the court sent him to judicial custody. He was later shifted to the Rajahmundry Central Jail.