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Violent+Quota+Protests+In+Andhra+Pradesh%2C+Train+Coaches+Set+On+Fire
Monday, 01 February 2016 - 11:31
Violent Quota Protests In Andhra Pradesh, Train Coaches Set On Fire
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Violent protests were witnessed in Andhra Pradesh's East Godawari district after the Kapu community, who were demanding reservation and Backward Classes status, blocked highways and railway lines, and set fire to train bogies.

The protests were called off late at night and the police and administration was working on clearing the railways lines.

The protesters had blocked the National Highway 16, set on fire at least two police stations, 25 vehicles and eight bogies of a train in East Godavari district. The passengers of the Ratnachal Express were unharmed but 15 policemen were injured in the violence -- two of them seriously.

M Padmanabham, a key leader of the community, announced that he is withdrawing the blockade. He said that the violence was not planned and that he was "hopeful of resolving issue through talks with Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu."

Since Sunday afternoon, all trains between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam and the vehicular traffic on Chennai-Kolkata national highway came to a halt due to the protests. According to officials, 27 trains were stopped in the region. The violence started around 3 pm, during a massive public meeting organised by Kapu State Committee at Tuni -- a town around 100 km from Visakhapatnam, Indian media reports.

Additional forces were rushed to the region and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu called an emergency meeting. Mobile and internet services were also temporarily blocked by the administration to control the agitation.

Kapus comprise one of the biggest groups in the state -- an estimated 27-30 per cent of the population, who are currently seen as OC or Other Caste. Actor-turned -political activist Pawan Kalyan is believed to have brought the Kapu vote to the party.




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