Former minister and Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham today began an indefinite fast along with his wife in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district demanding inclusion of Kapu community in Backward Classes category.
Padmanabham whose agitation in support of the demand had turned violent a few days back, began the fast at his native Kirlampudi village in East Godavari.
He demanded that the Kapu reservation issue be resolved in about three months and that Rs 1,000 crores be given annually for the benefit of the community.
He also sought that false cases should not be filed against the community members in connection with the violent incidents that took place when ‘Kapu Garjana’ (roar of Kapus) public meeting was conducted on Sunday last.
An inquiry by CBI may also be ordered into the violence in which a train, a police station and government and private vehicles were set on fire, he said.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made at Kirlampudi and other villages in East Godavari district in view of the fast by Padmanabham.
Two ruling TDP MLAs Thota Thrimurthulu and Bonda Umamaheswara Rao, who belong to Kapu community, held talks with Padmanabham last night as part of efforts to end the row.
They, however, said they met Padmanabham in their individual capacity as concerned Kapu legislators and not as government representatives.
The two MLAs told me to be flexible in dealing with the government, Padmanabham said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu yesterday asked Justice (retired) Manjunatha, chairman of the government appointed commission to look into the issues of backward classes and submit the report at the earliest. The commission was supposed to submit report in about nine months.
Violence had erupted in East Godavari district last Sunday during ‘Kapu Aikya Garjana’, a meeting by Kapu community members, who sought reservation under BC category.
The agitators, who had gathered in the district’s Tuni town to attend the public meeting addressed by Padmanabham, pelted the engine of Ratnachal Express train with stones and also attacked police personnel before ransacking the railway station. Four bogies of the train were also set ablaze.
As many as 63 cases have been registered in this connection by police for rioting, arson, criminal conspiracy, holding meeting without permission, violating preventive orders and causing damage to public property, attacking the policemen on duty without provocation, damaging railway property besides torching private and police vehicles.
Before going on fast, Padmanabham told mediapersons that he had waited for some positive response from government till the last minute but decided to continue his stir, unmindful of the consequences till his demand was considered.
“My life is dedicated to my Kapu community welfare and nothing would deter me from my determination,” he said.
The Kapu leader also appealed people not to come to Kirlampudi, but to take up the fast staying in their houses by skipping their lunch and hitting the plates with spoons, so that its echo reaches the ears of the chief minister.
Meanwhile, police have cordoned off all the passages to Padmanabham’s house and restricted the entry of outsiders.
Superintendent of Police, East Godavari, Ravi Prakash was supervising the security at Kirlampudi, where Padmanabham’s house has been kept under strict surveillance.