Former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu and his son N Lokesh Wednesday were placed under house arrest in Vijayawada just as they were about to leave to lead a rally to Atmakur in Guntur to protest against alleged attacks by YSRCP workers against TDP workers.
Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police D Gautam Sawang issued a statement, through the Chief Minister’s Office, that Naidu was taken into "preventive custody" as "his actions are increasing tensions and creating disturbance to law and order in the Palnadu region of Guntur district."
Krishna District Police locked the gates of Naidu’s residence at Undavalli and did not allow his convoy to move out of the house. Lokesh who tried to leave in another vehicle was also detained and sent back into the house. Several TDP leaders and workers were also taken into preventive custody.
Speaking to reporters outside his residence, Naidu said that in the last 100 days there were more than 500 incidents of attacks against TDP workers. "This government is violating human rights and fundamental rights. This government has failed to protect its people. At least 125 people belonging to SC, ST, minorities have fled from Atmakur fearing attacks by YSRCP workers. There are women and children among those who fled. Today, it is very unfortunate how the government has reacted to ‘Chalo Atmakur.’ I am warning this government, you cannot control us by arresting. You cannot play this kind of politics. The government has arrested all TDP leaders and workers..either house arrest or police arrest. But as soon as I can, I will go to Atmakur," Naidu said.
Calling the house arrest a murder of "democracy," Nara Lokesh accused the state government of running a dictatorship. "The ruling party is trying to strangulate our party across Andhra Pradesh. We were doing our activities in a democratic manner but our entire leadership was put under house arrest. This is dictatorship… TDP leaders and workers are being harassed. YSRCP MLAs are openly threatening us, saying the police are with them," he told news agency ANI.
Leaders of the ruling YSR Congress were also detained in Guntur as they too gave a call for a counter-rally to highlight alleged attacks on party workers during the TDP regime, news agency PTI reported.
Tempers in Guntur were already high, with the state police imposing Section 144 in Palanadu area since yesterday. A large police force has been deployed in Atmakuru and also in Palnadu region to prevent untoward incidents.
The TDP has claimed that eight party members have been killed by YSRCP leaders in the last four months. About 500 TDP workers, activists and sympathisers have been attacked by YSRCP leaders till now, former TDP minister Kalava Srinivasulu claimed.
The Chalo Atmakur rally was scheduled to see the participation of victims of alleged attacks along with thousands of TDP workers. Naidu has also set up a rehabilitation centre at the TDP headquarters at Guntur to provide help, including legal assistance, to victims, especially of Palnadu region, where the TDP alleged that 500 families have been forced out of their homes by YSRCP members.
Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP government, however, had said that it would not allow the TDP leaders to disturb peace in the state. Action would be taken against anyone trying to create a law and order situation, state Home Minister M Sucharita said.
Over the last few days, dozens of families have arrived at the TDP headquarters at Guntur, saying that they were forced to flee as YSRCP workers were attacking them.