In an unfortunate incident, violence took place at Pondugula bridge (Andhra Pradesh border) on Thursday, when the AP police attacked stranded travellers coming from Telangana who were prevented from entering the state. The violence was a result of the sheer mis-coordination between the governments of the two states.
Accordin to reports, police resorted to lathi-charge, damaged the vehicles of the passengers and pushed them back into Telangana. AP police claimed that the incident took place after the passengers pelted stones at them and injured five police personnel including Guntur Deputy Superintendent of Police.
On the day of Ugadi festival (Wednesday), scores of people who are natives of AP, residing in Hyderabad, availed 'one-time' pass from the Hyderabad and Cyberabad police, seeking exemption from the 21-day lockdown to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
However, the neighbouring state did not allow them to enter the state, as a result of which several of them were stuck at the interstate border. People complained about lack of food and water. After much hue and cry, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao spoke with his Andhra counterpart YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Following this, police allowed people who were willing to quarantine themselves for 14 days at the government set-up isolation facilities. According to the AP government, they took in 44 persons, who volunteered to be in quarantine. They were quarantined at a facility in Krishna district.
The others remained stuck at the border. As police refused to let them in, the agitated crowd got into a heated argument with the police and reportedly threw stones at them. In the attack, two policemen reportedly suffered head injuries.
Scenes from Dachepalli-Pondugula border, where the crowd was held up. This is abutting krishna river and a bridge divides the state boundaries.— @CoreenaSuares (@CoreenaSuares2) March 26, 2020
'The crowd had crossed the bridge towards AP n started pelting stones on our policemen which led to injuries to a DSP' - AP police pic.twitter.com/F4wisFv7yo
Provoked by the stone pelting, additional police were called in and police resorted to lathi-charge. In the attack, several of them were badly injured.
Following the incident, Nalgonda Superintendent SP Ranganath, tried to pacify the travellers and held a meeting with them.
Addressing the crowd, he said, “How can they (AP police) allow so many people? You should also understand.” As it was a one-time pass, Telangana police too would prevent their entry if they returned. However, the SP said that they will make arrangements for them to go back to Hyderabad.
“It is a lockdown. We did our best to negotiate and provide food and water to you. So many people have gathered here, what if one or two are infected with the virus? So I appeal to everyone to return to Hyderabad.”
Responding to the incident, AP, Director General of Police Gautam Sawang told News Meter,“The incident at the Dachepalli Zone recipient’s check post was unfortunate." Assuring to investigate the case, the DGP said, "We appeal to the people of Andhra Pradesh in Hyderabad to stay there. The government of Telangana promised to provide all the infrastructure, following discussions between the two governments.”
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy too appealed to the Andhra natives to refrain from travelling. “I feel bad that we have to stop our own people from returning to their homes. Yet, I humbly request people to avoid travelling across states, or districts or towns or villages within the state,” he said.