Tension gripped Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati and other parts of Guntur district on Wednesday as former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was placed under house while police evicted victims of alleged attacks by the ruling YSRCP from a TDP camp.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President was kept under house arrest in Amaravati while scores of party leaders and activists heading towards Guntur town for a protest march were arrested by the police.
Police did not allow Naidu to come out of his house at Undavalli as he was about to leave for Guntur town to lead the 'Chalo Atamakur' stir.
Tension prevailed around Naidu's house as TDP leaders coming to meet him were prevented from entering the house. Naidu's son Nara Lokesh, who came out of the house, lodged his protest over the police action.
The police later locked the main gate of Naidu's house from outside after he tried to come out in his car. Naidu, who sat on in his car for half an hour, condemned the police action. "Today is the dark day for democracy," he told reporters.
The TDP chief alleged that Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is murdering the democracy by resorting to house arrest and arrests of TDP leaders who wanted to participate in a peaceful rally. Naidu is observing day-long fast at his house to protest the attacks by the YSRCP and indiscriminate arrests of TDP leaders and workers.
Director General of Police Gautam Sawang said Naidu, who is also the Leader of Opposition, was taken into preventive custody as his actions are increasing tension and creating disturbances in Palnadu region of Guntur. The police chief clarified that he was not taken into preventive custody for fighting against the government policies.
Police have clamped prohibitory orders in the faction-ridden Palnadu region of Guntur to prevent any showdown as the YSRCP had also called for a counter-protest march.
TDP leaders and workers heading to Naidu's house and also to Guntur were stopped at different points and arrested.
Tension prevailed in Guntur town as additional police forces were deployed to foil the TDP's march planned to begin from the camp set up by the party for victims of attacks by the ruling party leaders.
Meanwhile, the police late Wednesday afternoon evicted all 165 victims from the camp and sent them back to their villages with police escort.
The police arrested TDP leaders and workers at the camp before evicting the inmates. Five buses were arranged to send them back to their villages.
Before sending them back, police and revenue officials recorded their statements about the problems faced by them in their villages. The officials assured them that all steps would be taken to prevent clashes.
Naidu condemned the police "attack" on the camp, arrest of the TDP leaders and forcibly evicting the victims. He said the victims should not have been sent back without creating confidence in them and punishing those involved in the attacks on them.
The TDP alleged that its eight workers were killed in the attacks by the YSRCP leaders, most of them in Palnadu region. It claimed that 500 TDP activists and sympathisers were attacked since the announcement of election results in May.
The YSRCP too had announced that it will also conduct 'Chalo Atmakur' with victims of the attacks by TDP leaders during last five years. Its leaders alleged that Naidu is resorting to cheap gimmicks.
Home Minister Sucharita dubbed those at TDP camp in Guntur as "paid artists".