The Kapu agitation: Reservation a burning issue for community

The Kapus aligned with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ahead of the 2014 general elections after N Chandrababu Naidu promised to restore their status as BCs which had existed till 1960.

Written by SRINIVAS JANYALA | Updated: February 1, 2016 3:57 pm
kapus, kapus protest, kapus community, kapus protest in Andhra, violence in andhra pradesh, violence by Kapus, violence by Kapus in Andhra, kapus quota, Kapus in Andhra, Andhra news, latest news andhra Agitators belonging to the Kapu caste set fire to Ratnachal Express when it halted at Tuni railway station in East Godavari district on Sunday afternoon, they were protesting to demand their caste for inclusion in the backward class. PTI Photo

Kapu leader Mudragadda Padmanabham today withdrew the protest to demand immediate inclusion of Kapus in Backward Classes list. The violent protests had led to Kapus setting a train and a police station on fire. The Kapus aligned with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ahead of the 2014 general elections after N Chandrababu Naidu promised to restore their status as BCs which had existed till 1960.

However, the TDP government dragged its feet on taking a decision to appoint a judicial commission to make the recommendations. The TDP had to consider the options on how to give quota to Kapus without upsetting the existing quota to BCs and to ensure that it withstood legal scrutiny. The government was also wary of similar demands by other communities.

CM Naidu did appoint a judicial commission last month but as discontent simmered in the Kapu community over the delay, Padmanabham, a disgruntled Kapu leader who had been sidelined in the TDP earlier, decided to launch a stir to force the hand of the government by calling for a public meeting on Sunday.

The meeting, which started off peacefully but got out of control after he called on the protestors to block the railway tracks and the national highway resulting in mindless violence. With the TDP government coming down heavily on him, and facing flak from all quarters due to the violence by the protestors who burnt down a train, a police station, and several vehicles, a shaken Padmanabham appealed to all Kapus not to protest anymore.

“If necessary I alone will launch a protest at a later stage but right now I appeal to all Kapus not to disturb peace and not to go ahead with the ‘rasta roko’. Some bad elements infiltrated the peaceful meeting and incited the youth who resorted to violence. I apologise for the
inconvenience caused,’’ Padmanabham said.

With TDP blaming Padmanabham and YSR Congress Party for the violence a blame game has started: YSRCP has crticised the TDP for not keeping its poll promise and allowing the situation to get out control.