Attempt to rename Koonaseema in Andhra triggers violent clashes

Attempt to rename Koonaseema in Andhra triggers violent clashes
Attempt to rename Koonaseema in Andhra triggers violent clashes

The state government’s attempt to rename the newly created Konaseema district after B R Ambedkar sparked massive protests and burning in Andhra Pradesh’s Amalapuram city on Tuesday.

protests in andhra

Protesters set fire to police cars, buses, and even the home of governing YSRCP MLA P Satish from Munnidivaram. The crowd also set fire to items housed outside the residence of Transport Minister P Viswarup. Curfew was enforced in Konaseema after the skirmishes to put the situation under control.

The government of Andhra Pradesh reorganised 13 districts and formed 13 new ones last month, bringing the total number of districts in the state to 26.

The old East Godavari district was formed out of Konaseema district during this drill. The state administration announced in the second week of May that the district will be renamed after Dr. B R Ambedkar due to popular demand. The new name proposed was Dr B R Ambedkar Konaseema district, and objections were solicited with a month’s notice. Several local organisations, including the Konaseema Parirakshana Samithi, the Konaseema Sadhana Samiti, and the Konaseema Udyama Samiti, began protesting the proposed name. They said that the location has long been known as Konaseema, and that the government should respect it.

The Konaseema area is a picturesque delta with a cluster of tiny islands tucked between the Godavari river’s four branches shortly before they join the Bay of Bengal. The coconut trees, lush green fields, little lakes, and canals that dot the landscape are sometimes compared to Kerala’s backwaters. It has its own cuisine, and resorts along the Godavari and its tributaries provide houseboat lodging as well as watersports on the calm waters.

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The state government established the new Konaseema district in April, combining the existing East Godavari district’s two revenue divisions of Amalapuram and Ramachandrapuram.

The district headquarters was established at Amalapuram, a reserved Lok Sabha seat.

Three of the seven Assembly segments in the Amalapuram Parliamentary constituency – Razole, Gannavaram, and Amalapuram Assembly seats – are reserved.

Following the creation of the new district, various Dalit organisations petitioned the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy-led state government to name it after Dr. B R Ambedkar, citing the high SC population in the area. The state administration published a notice on May 18 inviting residents of the Konaseema district to submit complaints and ideas within 30 days. Residents of other castes in the region, however, were not pleased with the suggestion and demanded that the traditional name – Konaseema – be kept.

Protesters from different organisations opposed to the name of the district staged demonstrations before marching to the district collector’s office in Amalapuram in the morning.

When demonstrators attempted to enter the DC office, police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. This resulted in some little stone-pelting at first. Protests occurred across Amalapuram as the crowd became larger. By the evening, there had been violent fights between demonstrators and police. The officers were pelted with stones and sticks, wounding several of them. The demonstrators then turned their wrath on the governing YSRCP, targeting the homes of Transport Minister P Viswarup and YSRCP MLA P Satish from Mummidivaram. To disperse the crowd, police had to shoot into the air. Later that night, a curfew was established in the new district.

Scoopearth Team


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