Ex-Member of Parliament from Kakinada and political activist Mudragada Padmanabham known for campaigning for the inclusion of Kapu (caste) in the Backward Class group along with others appeared in Vijayawada Metropolitan Magistrate Court (Railway Court) after a summon was served for involvement in the arson at the Tuni Railway Station in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.
Former Minister in T.N. Rama Rao’s cabinet Mudragada and present Tuni MLA Dadisetti Ramalingeswara Rao (Raja) along with other Kapu leaders demanded BC reservation for the Kapu community and in lieu of the same organized Kapu Garjana Sabha.
The sabha turned violent when agitators suddenly squatted on the tracks, stopping and pelting stones on the Ratnachal Express between Tuni and Hamsavaram stations. The mob ended up setting coaches of the trains on fire when the panicked passengers alighted from the train.
Later the activists also torched the police station, damaged the furniture, and attacked the police and railway staff. They also set ablaze a few police vehicles.
The violent turn of the protests forced thousands of people who were attending the meetings, residents, and railway personnel to run in a hurry-scurry to shield them resulting in more chaos and confusion.
Additional forces from Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, and Rajamahendravaram were rushed to the spot. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the Government Railway Police had registered a case.
The four-time MLA from East Godavari district who had been leading the Kapu Community agitations for the last two decades withdrew from the agitation stating that he never strived to achieve mileage through the movement. Mudragada announced,
“I am forced to take the decision following unwarranted criticism on social media and mainstream media by some people, trying to discredit me and project me as one, who is not sincere in leading the movement.”
He further added,
“It was Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who promised BC reservation to the Kapus during the last Assembly polls. The Kapu movement was launched to achieve that. I never aspired to make money or obtain big posts. Everyone is aware that I suffered financial losses. Even my health took a beating. It would be better not to mention the losses I suffered politically. But I take all the losses in my stride.”