Andhra HC allows Amaravati farmers to hold public meeting in Tirupati

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday allowed farmers of Amaravati region to organise a public meeting in Tirupati on December 17.

The court gave the permission for the meeting subject to certain conditions. The organisers were directed to hold the meeting from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and follow Covid-19 protocol.

The court order came a day after the mega foot march by farmers and women of Amaravati to demand that Amaravati be retained as the only state capital concluded in Tirupati.

After covering 450 km in 44 days, the ‘Mahapadyatra’ from Amaravati to Tirupati ended at Alipiri, the foothills of Sri Venkateswara temple.

The Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi and Amaravati Joint Action Committee wanted to organise the public meeting at the end of the ‘Mahapadyatra’ but Chittoor district police denied the permission.

Following this, they approached the High Court. The counsel on behalf of petitioners argued that the foot march concluded smoothly without any law and order problems

The government submitted to the court that if the public meeting was allowed, it could lead to clashes on regional lines. It brought to court’s notice certain video clips of farmers allegedly attacking police during the ‘Mahapadyatra’.

The court rejected the arguments of the government and allowed the farmers to conduct the meeting. The organisers were directed to avoid making comments which could lead to law and order problems.

Rayalaseema Hakkula Sadhana Samithi, a group fighting for the rights of Rayalaseema region, wanted to organise a public meeting the same day but the court made it clear that two meeting can’t be allowed the same day and suggested it to hold the meeting on some other day.

Chittoor is part of Rayalaseema region. As per the decision of the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government in 2019, the state will have three state capitals.

It proposes to develop Kurnool in Rayalaseema as the judicial capital and Visakhapatnam in north coastal Andhra as administrative capital while Amaravati will be retained only as the legislative capital.

Farmers of 29 villages of Amaravati region, who had given 33,000 acres of land for development of the state capital when Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was in power, have been protesting against the government move for more than 700 days. They want Amaravati to be developed as the only state capital.