Tirupati: The arrest of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) MLA from Chandragiri and senior leader Chevireddy Bhasker Reddy sent ripples of shock through party cadre and the public here. What was the MLA’s fault? He protested against the arrest of YSRCP workers and villagers who caught people carrying out bogus surveys and indulging in electoral malpractices like deletion of voters' names from the list.

The Chittoor police did not merely arrest the Chandragiri MLA. They made him sit in a police vehicle and took him around all over including parts of neighbouring places in the state of Tamil Nadu. This was revealed by the MLA himself and by other senior leaders of the party including Leader of opposition in Andhra Pradesh legislative Council, Ummareddy Venkateswarlu. The police did not refuse to take note of the fact that the MLAs health was deteriorating, they pointed out. His BP shot up because he was inhumanly denied food and water by the police. Worse, the Chittoor police did not even give him a BP tablet despite repeated pleas.

Following widespread criticism as the issue began snowballing, the Chittoor police brought the Chandragiri MLA to Satyavedu police station on Monday morning. However he resorted to a protest inside the police station itself. YSR Congress Party leaders, workers, and the general public who came to know about the inhuman and unlawful arrest of the MLA resorted to protests and blocked roads in many places. Chevireddy’s wife Lakshmi Devi and his two sons, Mohit Reddy and Harshit Reddy and villagers were arrested for demonstrating in front of the Chittoor SP’s office.

Events as they unfolded

For some time now, some youth have been moving around in villages of Chandragiri constituency. They went about identifying sympathisers of YSRCP and entering their names in Tabs, which they had. Villagers who got suspicious questioned the youth and handed them over to the police. Now comes the bizarre part. The Chittoor police, instead of booking a case against the youth who were carrying out the survey with tabs, instead arrested those who complained against the likely tampering of electoral rolls! Venugopal Reddy, Nagarjuna Reddy and Ramanjaneyulu, of Erravaripalem were arrested on Friday. Their crime— complaining against youth who were all

carrying out surveys with the likely intention of deleting the names of voters who are sympathetic to YSRCP. Worse was to follow. Police even assaulted their family members, injuring them in the process in a midnight raid on the village. Again, on Sunday when another survey was being conducted by some unknown youth, villagers blocked them and handed them over to the police. Instead of taking any action against those who are conducting these surveys with the intention of deleting the names of voters sympathetic to YSRCP, police arrested Naresh Reddy, Chennakesava Reddy and Prakash Reddy who had caught the youth. Instead of taking them to the police station, they were sent to the police-training centre where they were allegedly tortured according to the victims and their relatives.

On learning about these incidents, Chandragiri MLA, Chevireddy Bhasker Reddy, went to the Superintendent of Police office in Chittoor on Sunday night demanding the release of all such unlawfully arrested youth belonging to YSRCP. He sat on a protest when they were not released.

At midnight they arrested the protesting MLA forcibly, took him in a vehicle and went around the whole night taking him to different places including parts of Tamil Nadu. They also did not allow his gunman or his PA and also denied him any food.They brought him back to the Satyavedu police station in the early hours of Monday morning and foisted cases under Sections 353, 183, 141 and 149 on the MLA.

Getting to know about the MLA's arrest people from the various villages around Chandragiri, women folk and family members of the arrested people reached the SP's office and staged a protest demanding his release. They arrested the MLAs wife and two sons and sent his wife to the Tiruchanur Police station and his sons to the Yadamarri police station.

MLA Chevireddy’s wife Lakshmi arrested by Police
MLA Chevireddy’s wife Lakshmi arrested by Police

Fighting against the police action the MLA went on a hunger strike refusing any water or food.Nellore MLA Narayanaswamy, YSRCP cadre and party workers came to the police station and demanded his release. They also called the DIG and SP but to no avail and they were all also arrested and sent to different jails. Meanwhile police conducted medical tests on the Chevireddy Bhasker Reddy and checked on his health status.

MLA Chevireddy  on a hunger-strike in  front of Satyavedu Police station
MLA Chevireddy  on a hunger-strike in front of Satyavedu Police station

Speaking to the media , YSRCP State General Secretary Bhumana Karunakar Reddy said that the TDP would pay a heavy price for illegally detaining the MLA and said that the TDP was trying to make Chandragiri another faction-ridden area, he said. He also criticised the TDP government for deliberately trying to arrest the MLA, illegally imprisoning YSRCP workers who were weeding out the culprits who were indulging in fake voter surveys and beating YSRCP sympathisers who were opposing these offenders .

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