The Dharma Parirakshana Yatra of the TDP was foiled by the police at Alipiri, the foot of Tirumala hills, here on Thursday.
Through the yatra, the TDP sought to highlight the government’s “failure” to prevent the series of attacks on temples and desecration of idols.
Atchannaidu confined to hotel room
It was to have been launched by party State president K. Atchannaidu, but he was prevented from stepping out of his hotel room.
Mr. Atchannaidu was detained along with senior leaders such as N. Amaranatha Reddy, Nakka Ananda Babu, and MLAs Nimmala Rama Naidu and A. Satya Prasad.
The rally was scheduled to culminate at the NTR statue, where Mr. Atchannaidu was supposed to address the people.
Reacting strongly to the development, Mr. Atchannaidu said, “The government is behaving in a high-handed manner. It has fear neither for law nor for God. It is bent on deriving political mileage by creating rift between castes and religions.”
Meanwhile, Panabaka Lakshmi, the TDP candidate for the byelection to the Tirupati Lok Sabha seat, demanded the immediate release of Mr. Atchannaidu.
The second rung party leaders, sympathisers and youth wing members, who turned up in large numbers at Alipiri, waited patiently for the leaders to arrive, but had to be content with a symbolic rally in the absence of the seniors.
The police prevented the motorcycle-borne youth wing members from taking out a bike rally and later chased them away. Nearly 70 of them were detained and sent to Muthyala Reddy Palle and Chandragiri police stations. Over 100 two-wheelers lay scattered on the road even as the party activists ran helter-skelter.
Former TUDA chairman and TDP parliamentary constituency president G. Narasimha Yadav staged a sit-in at the police station.
“I wonder why the police swooped on the leaders for no reason after giving permission for the rally. Do we need permission to garland the statue of our founder N.T. Rama Rao? The police excesses will not be tolerated,” he said. Later, Mr. Narasimha Yadav sat on ‘mouna deeksha’ at Alipiri denouncing the police attitude.
Meanwhile, as per the call given by party national president N. Chandrababu Naidu, the activists are gearing up to stage a dharna in the city on Friday.