Tuni train burning completes one year: Neither the case nor the issue addressed

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: The infamous incident at Tuni during the Kapu meet that had witnessed the mob turning violent and setting the Rathnachal Express train on fire, besides two police stations and a couple of police vehicles, has completed one year. As the blaze turned seven bogies into ashes, hundreds of traumatized   passengers, including women and children, had to run for their lives.

Unfortunately, neither the case related to violence nor the issue of BC status for Kapus is solved yet, although the police have registered 57 cases and the CID has taken up the probe. The CID sleuths have identified 13 persons, holding them responsible for the arson, and sent them to jail, who after awhile, came out on bail. Though the police tried to arrest four more ‘accused’ at Amalapuram later, Kapu leader and former minister Mudragada Padmanabham staged a sit-in protest following which the police failed to make any arrests.

Now, the Rathnachal Express is running as usual. Some passengers who travel by this train regularly recall the fateful day when the train reaches Tuni every morning. However, the police could not move forward any further.

On his part, Mudragada launched indefinite hunger strike on February 5 last year in his house and was subsequently arrested. He had also planned a Satyagraha walk from Ravulapalem to Antarvedi during the same period but was prevented by the police. In December too, the former minister made a vain bid for  marathon silent walk as the police clamped prohibitory orders and kept the Kapu leaders under house arrest.

The Manjunatha Commission, which is studying the issue of extending BC status to the Kapus, is yet to complete its study, keeping the issue alive and burning.

During the year, while the government had failed to counter the Kapu movement despite it extending financial assistance to the community through Kapu Corporation, the Kapu movement had seen a minor split with the Balija community distancing from Mudragada. The Balijas constitute major strength in the Kapu-Balija-Turpu Kapu-Ontari group and their disassociation had weakened, to some extent, the Kapu movement. In fact, it is for this reason Mudragada is taking time to push forward his movement.

Meanwhile, marking their agitation anniversary, the Kapu leaders in the East and West Godavari districts are planning special and silent prayers at the temples in their areas. The Kapu JAC had given an appeal to the community to offer prayers at all the temples invoking the blessings of God to give wisdom to the government to solve their problem.

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