High tension gripped Kuppam town of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday with the ruling YSRCP and Telugu Desam Party cadres resorting to pelting stones, followed by the pulling down of the “Anna Canteen” by the former, and police lathi-charge on the latter when the mobs started rushing towards the YSRCP MLC Bharath’s house. Incidentally, a sequence of disturbing developments unfolded when TDP national president Mr. Maidu and local MLA is currently camping in Kuppam.
The tension began to build up at the tri-State junction town of Kuppam from the early hours, with the police officials prohibiting the entry of all vehicles, including public and private transport, into Kuppam, expecting trouble in the backdrop of Wednesday’s clash between the cadres of two parties near Ramakuppam during Naidu’s first-day visit of the constituency.
Seeking one-hour permission from the police, the YSRCP leaders, Chittoor MP N. Reddappa, MLC K. Bharath, and ZP chairman Govindappa Srinivas staged a protest at the YSR statue junction near the RTC bus stand, denouncing Wednesday’s clash. A few meters from the venue, Mr. Naidu was scheduled to formally inaugurate the Anna Canteen.
As the time slot given to the YSRCP cadres was over, the police sought them to vacate the premises to facilitate Mr. Naidu to visit the venue. However, a batch of YSRCP activists rushed to Anna Canteen and pulled down the shamianas and the temporary structures, leading to pandemonium.
The TDP activists tried to retaliate this by advancing toward MLC Bharath’s house at Palace road. The police rushed to the spot and had to resort to a lathi charge to disperse the mob. Four TDP activists received bleeding injuries and were rushed to the area hospital.
Police personnel control the mob after the TDP-YSRCP cadres clash, at Kollupalle village of Ramakuppam mandal, in Chittoor district on August 25, 2022. Photo: Special Arrangement
Amidst the tense atmosphere, Mr. Naidu arrived at the RTC bus stand zone along with local leaders and sat on the road, protesting the attack on Anna canteen. The police had a tough time convincing Mr. Naidu to give up his stir.
Later, Mr. Naidu addressed a public meeting from the spot, and “symbolically” inaugurated the Anna canteen, which was pulled down. Personally handing over the plates and serving the food, Mr. Naidu later left for the newly built TDP office for its inauguration in Kuppam.
Speaking to The Hindu, Circle-Inspector T. Sridhar said that with great difficulty, the situation was brought under control. “Both sides had resorted to stone pelting at each other. Heavy bandobast is in place following instructions from the SP,” he said.
With public transport coming to a grinding halt in Kuppam and surrounding areas followed by the voluntary closure of the business establishments, a curfew-like situation prevailed at the tri-State junction.