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24 Injured In Andhra Pradesh Violence, Jagan Abandons Tour

Twenty-four people, including eight policemen, were on Friday  injured in violence that broke out during a tour of Congress MP Y S Jaganmohan to Telangana, following which he was taken into preventive custody forcing him
PTI May 28, 2010 20:54 IST

Twenty-four people, including eight policemen, were on Friday  injured in violence that broke out during a tour of Congress MP Y S Jaganmohan to Telangana, following which he was taken into preventive custody forcing him to abandon his visit. 

Nine people were injured when police fired to quell protesters while seven others were injured in clashes, police said. Eight policemen were also hurt in the violence that broke out in protest against his yatra. 

Jaganmohan, son of late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, had undertaken his 'Odarpu Yatra' to console people who had allegedly committed suicide or died after hearing his father's death in a helicopter crash last year, despite the party leadership asking him not to do so. 

He was detained at the Vangipalli railway station in the wake of violence in Mahbubabad town in Warangal district, the hotbed of separate Telangana agition, in protest against his tour, police said. He was released later after which he returned here. 

Though initially it was reported that one person was killed in the violence, Director General of Police R R Girish Kumar said later that the youth had only fallen unconscious.

 "It was presumed initially that he died but he had actually become unconsious," he told reporters. An inquiry has been ordered into the Mahbubabad violence, the DGP said .

A defiant Jaganmohan, however, vowed to undertake his tour to console over 70 families at an opportune time. "The leaders who are blocking my personal tour should ponder if it was fair to indulge in such nefarious politics," an angry Jaganmohan, who is opposed to creation of a separate Telangana, said. 

Holding Jaganmohan responsible today's violence in Warangal district, the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) called for a bandh in the region tomorrow. 

37-year-old Jaganmohan, a first time MP from Kadapa, had this morning embarked on his seven-day trip by a train from Secunderabad. 

There were mild protests en route from pro-Telangana agitators but the Mahbubabad railway station turned out to be the main battle ground where the pro and anti-Jagan groups clashed.

The pro-Telangana agitators vandalised the Mahbubabad railway station and hurled stones at Congress MLA Konda Surekha and local MLA Kavita when they were sitting inside the waiting room to receive Jaganmohan. Kavita suffered an injury in the stone-pelting while Surekha escaped unhurt. Their personal security officers immediately whisked them away to safety and opened nine rounds of fire to quell the agitators.

Meanwhile, opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh came down heavily on the Congress government in the state and held it squarely responsible for the violence.

"The Congress is entirely responsible for today s incidents. The government failed to assess the situation and take necessary precautionary measures to avert violence," Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu said.

Talking to newsmen on the sidelines of the party s three-day annual conference Mahanadu at Gandipet near here, Chandrababu said the Congress high command failed to control its own MPs and MLAs. "It s the common people who are facing trouble whenever Congress is in power," he said.

Voicing similar sentiments, TRS chief K Chandrasekar Rao blamed the state government for the turmoil, accusing it of failure to check Jaganmohan's yatra.

Stating that governance in the state had gone off the track because of the internal rumblings in the Congress, BJP senior leader Ch Vidyasagar Rao demanded that President s rule be imposed in Andhra Pradesh. "A judicial inquiry should be ordered into the Mahbubabad incidents," he demanded.

Terming the violence in Warangal district a result of intelligence failure, CPI state secretary K Narayana said the state government and the Congress party should take responsibility for this.

Jaganmohan, after returning to Hyderabad, asked his followers to observe restraint and not to resort to violence even as reports came in from temple-town Tirupati that his supporters had set two bogies of Padmavathi Express on fire.  "Violence is not our path. Please don t resort to such acts," he said in a statement on his 'Sakshi' channel.

In the midst of the disturbances, the Inter-City Express by  which Jaganmohan was travelling to Mahbubabad was detained for more  than three hours at Vangipalli railway station. Initially there was a bomb scare following which railway authorities ran a pilot engine for an anti-sabotage check on the track on the busy Hyderabad-Vijayawada sector.

As a result, many trains on the route got delayed causing inconvenience to thousands of passengers. South Central Railway authorities here said about 14 trains on the route were "regulated" following the violence at Mahbubabad.

As the situation appeared to be going out of hand, police prevailed upon the Kadapa MP to abandon his yatra and took him into preventive custody. Two MLAs Srikanth (Congress) and Maheshwar Reddy (PRP) were also detained by police along with Jaganmohan.

Elsewhere in Warangal district, police arrested Telugu Desam Party MLA E Dayakar Rao and Telangana Sadhana Samiti MLC K Dileep Kumar who vowed to block Jaganmohan s yatra.

Chief Minister K Rosaiah, who returned to the state capital from Nellore after attending the marriage of a minister s son, was briefed by Home Minister P Sabita Reddy, Director General of Police R R Girish Kumar and Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) Mahender Reddy. PTI