Vijayawada/Rajahmundry: Tension prevailed on the outskirts of Guntur city on Saturday after police arrested Amaravati Joint Action Committee (JAC) leaders and farmers on the way to a ‘Jail Bharo’ programme at Arundal Pet jail. The agitators condemned the arrests and staged protests where they were arrested. The call to protest follows the recent arrest and handcuffing of some Amaravati farmers who were agitating against the proposed shift of the capital.
The police had given notices to Amaravati JAC members and functionaries of TDP, Congress, CPI, CPI(M) and other political parties to not participate in the protest.
Checkposts were set up on highways leading to Guntur city. A number of agitators coming from various parts of the state to attend the programme were stopped and detained by the police under Section 149 of the CrPC.
JAC president Siva Reddy strongly condemned the house arrests of farmers and JAC leaders.
“We are continuing protests for the last 300 days seeking justice for Amaravati farmers. Police are behaving inhumanely with us. Farmers haven’t committed any crime. They are fighting for justice. Arrests and treating them as criminals is objectionable. We will continue our fight till the government responds to our demands positively. Amaravati should be continued as the state capital,” Siva Reddy said.
Police also placed Amaravati women’s JAC leader Sunkara Padmashri under house arrest in Athkuru village. “Police were trying to suppress opposition parties. House arrests and illegal detentions are against the law. We are staging protests peacefully for the last 300 days and still the government is treating farmers as criminals. People of the state want Amaravati as the capital and we will back farmers in their protests,” Padmashri said.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Association president Muppalla Subba Rao lodged a complaint with National Human Rights Commission, urging action against police personnel who arrested and handcuffed the farmers. He also demanded compensation for farmers.