Andhra Pradesh: YSRCP councilor detained for ‘manipulating’ Rayachoti municipal commissioner

The alleged mistreatment of Rayachoti Municipal Commissioner, R. Rambabu, by a YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) councilor and his supporters on the evening of June 23 sparked a row in Annamayya district.

Condemning the incident, around 200 employees of the civic body staged a protest at the Annamayya District Collectorate on the morning of June 24. The protesters also submitted memoranda to Collector PS Gireesha and Superintendent of Police V. Harshavardhan Raju, demanding action against the culprits.

Municipal Commissioner R. Rambabu said The Hindu that ruling party adviser K. Venkata Narasimha Reddy, accompanied by a crowd of his supporters, stormed into his room, demanding that permission be granted for certain “unauthorized layouts”.

“Illegal layouts”

“When I inquired about the problem, the planning officer told me that the permissions had not been granted because the developments were illegal. All of a sudden the councilor started attacking me. When I screamed for help, our staff came to my rescue. Later, some counselors asked me to keep quiet about the incident and that they would arrange an apology from Narasimha Reddy. However, I spoke to the collector and filed a complaint with the police,” he said.

Mr Rambabu also accused his attackers of trying to foil the protest organized by municipal staff against “aggression”.

The city commissioner said he had worked in Rayachoti for two and a half years. “There are 125 illegal routes within the municipal boundary. We are acting tough against that,” he said.

A senior municipal official alleged that the police were trying to “protect the culprits by watering down the case”.

However, Superintendent of Police V. Harshavardhan Raju denied any wrongdoing by the police. “Four people, including the city councilor, were taken into custody immediately after the complaint was received. The defendants were convicted under sections 332 and 355 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), dealing with assault on a public official. Since the articles guarantee a sentence of up to two years, the defendant could not be sent to pre-trial detention. This led to misunderstanding on the part of civic staff,” the SP said.

Meanwhile, APCC Acting Chairman N. Tulasi Reddy condemned the incident. “This is goonda raj by YSRCP in Rayachoti. The ruling party adviser assaulted an officer. The people must realize that law and order has deteriorated in the state,” he said declared.

Rayachoti MLA G. Srikanth Reddy called the incident “unfortunate”. He said such matters should be settled amicably following government standards.

Melissa C. Keyes