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An Andhra Pradesh minister and an MLA's house in Amalapuram were set on fire on Tuesday, 24 May, after violence broke out over the renaming of a district.
The police had to lathicharge a group of people who were opposing the proposed renaming of the newly created Konaseema district to BR Ambedkar Konaseema district.
The houses of Transport Minister Pinipe Viswarupu and MLA P Satish were set on fire in the violence. Around six vehicles, including, a police vehicle and an educational institution's bus, were also set on fire. The protesters also indulged in stone-pelting in which 20 police officers were injured.
Meanwhile, Section 144, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people, has been imposed in Amalapuram, reported NDTV. Around 500 additional policemen have also been summoned from surrounding districts.
Minister Viswarupu and his family were in the house when the protests started, but they were moved to safety by the police.
The police later informed on Tuesday evening that tension prevailed in the area but things were under control.
Viswarupu's office was also attacked and furniture was smashed and burnt.
"It is unfortunate that over 20 police personnel sustained injuries in the incident. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and bring the culprits to book," the Home Minister Taneti Vanitha said.
Vanitha alleged that some anti-social elements and political parties instigated the arson.
Amalapuram, which is Konaseema district’s headquarters, is an Scheduled Caste-reserved parliamentary constituency.
On 4 April, the Konaseema district was carved out of East Godavari.
The state government issued a preliminary notification that sought to rename Konaseema as B R Ambedkar Konaseema district last week. The government had also invited objections, if any, from the people.
However, the Konaseema Sadhana Samiti objected to it and wanted the name Konaseema retained. The Samiti organised a protest on Tuesday and had planned to submit a memorandum against the renaming to the district collector.
The police tried to control the protest which angered the protesters, leading to violence.
The violence broke out after thousands of protesters tried to enter the district collector’s complex, reported The Indian Express.
The police used batons and fired in the air to disperse the crowd, who responded by pelting stones.
'Vested Interests Responsible for Violence': Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy
Condemning the violence, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party leader Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy said the decision was taken in the wake of demands from various organisations considering the aspirations of the people and added that all the political parties supported it.
Ambedkar was a great leader, and the state government doesn't have any political interest in naming a district after him. However, he said some vested interests were responsible for the violence, and the issue will be settled down soon, Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy told reporters at the party's central office.
(With inputs from PTI and NDTV.)