On the 68th day of the ongoing protest by farmers of Amaravati region who want Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to drop the idea of shifting the capital to Visakhapatnam, they walked to the Amaralingeswara Swamy temple at Amaravathi town to take part in ‘rathotsavam.’
Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi Joint Action Committee (JAC) leaders said women proceeding towards Amaravathi in vehicles were stopped by the police on the way forcing them to cover the remaining 3 km distance by walk. “There is a belief that if you pull the ratham (chariot) on this day and make a wish, it will be fulfilled,” said a young farmer participating in the padayatra.
At Amaravathi temple, slogans of “Jai Amaravati” rent the air with a large number of farmers and their supporters gathering there.
JAC leader Srinivas said a farmer sustained a foot injury when farmers tried to stop the convoy of Bapatla MP Nandigama Suresh but he drove away without paying attention that his vehicle had hit a farmer.
At the Amaralingeswara temple, he said their slogans of “Jai Amaravati” were met with counter-slogans of “Jai Jagan” and “Jai Pulivendula.” Mr. Srinivas said fearing for the safety of women members, the venue of dharna was shifted to the statue of Dhyana Budha.
He said a bus of women members returning from here was again stopped at Lemalle by the MP’s supporters and that the farmers and JAC members had to rush to their rescue.
Meanwhile, women JAC members, drawn from different parties — P. Durga Bhavani ( CPI) , Sunkara Padma (Congress), Manasi (Lok Satta) and A. Sunitha (TDP) participated in a protest in one of the villages.
They said they would visit all 29 villages in the capital region to express solidarity with the protesting farmers and women.
Members of the Amaravati Parirakshana Yuvajana JAC participated in ‘Pedal for Capital”, a cycle rally from Chebrolu Hamumaiah grounds to Hindu College in Guntur demanding that the government withdraw the three-capital proposal.
Addressing the protesters, student leaders accused the Chief Minister of whipping up regional sentiments. They said the Yuvajana JAC would embark on a Statewide bus yatra to educate people on the bane of three capitals.