Statues: Main accused surrenders, Dalit leaders held



Rajahmundry: Gandham Pallam Raju, the main accused in the desecration of statues of B R Ambedkar in East Godavari, on Sunday surrendderd here even as police foiled attempts by dalit leaders to stage protest against the incidents and arrested scores of people from the community.

Gandham Pallam Raju, allegedly involved in the desecration of the statues, surrendered before the district police here, police said.

Raju was also wanted in connection with a case pertaining to the attack on Tollywood actor Rajasekhar and his wife Jeevitha while they were shooting in Amlapuram division around six months back among other cases.

A manhunt has been launched to nab the eight other accused who are believed to have been involved in defiling the statues, police said.

With the arrest of Raju, the number of persons arrested in connection with the incident has gone up to four.

Meanwhile, the attempt of dalit leaders and members of the community to hold demonstrations and rasta-rokos in protest against the arrest of their leaders was foiled by police.

Jupudi Prabahkar Rao, Gollapalli Surya Rao, Bojja Tharakam and K Nirmala Kumari were among others who were arrested by police near Buddha Bhavan Vihar here when they were heading towards Amlapuram in East Godavari district to attend the meeting organised in the backdrop of defiling of the five figures of the dalit icon on January 23.

Condemning the arrest of V Durga Babu (20), K Anji Babu (19) and M Anil (19) yesterday in connection with the desecration incident, the dalit leaders today alleged the police had targeted innocent persons.

"We are organising the meeting to discuss the reasons for desecration of the statues and not for other things," they said.

According to police, the accused arrested in connection with defiling the statues have said that they committed the act under the influence of alcohol.

Security has been beefed up in the district following arrest of the dalit leaders.

In a related development, MLC K Durgesh today launched an indefinite fast in Rajahmundry demanding arrest of the "real" culprits.

PTI