The houses of Andhra Pradesh minister Pinipe Viswarup and MLA Ponnada Satish were set on fire in Amalapuram town on Tuesday by protestors during a demonstration against renaming of the newly-created Konaseema district to BR Ambedkar Konaseema district, reported NDTV.
Viswarup, who holds the transport portfolio, and his family have been taken to a safe location by the police.
The police baton-charged the protestors after they threw stones. A police vehicle and a bus were also set on fire.
“It is unfortunate that over 20 police personnel sustained injuries in the incident,” Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Taneti Vanitha said. “We will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and bring the culprits to book.”
She alleged that some political parties and anti-social elements had instigated the protestors that led to the arson, reported PTI.
“It’s unfortunate that the naming of the district after a great intellectual like Ambedkar is being opposed,” Vanitha said, according to The News Minute.
The Konaseema district was carved out of the erstwhile East Godavari on May 4.
A notification to rename the district was issued on May 18, inviting objections and suggestions to the proposal. Protests erupted in many parts of the district after the notification was issued.
On Tuesday, the protestors had planned to a rally to the district collector’s office. However, in view of the rally, the police banned the gathering of more than five people under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. On Monday, the police had banned protests for the next two days.
However, a huge number of protestors gathered in the town on Tuesday, according to The News Minute.
The violence broke out after protestors reportedly hurled stones at the police.
Viswarup is the MLA from Amalapuram, an Scheduled Castes reserved constituency. The decision to rename the district was announced to meet demands made by Dalit groups. After the announcement, Viswarup had described the decision as a victory for the Dalits of Andhra Pradesh.