Published: 26th May 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Why is renaming of AP's Konaseema district causing such an uproar?
Protests are raging strong against the renaming of this district in Andhra Pradesh, but why are there such strong sentiments associated with the name? We try to decode this...
Andhra Pradesh's very own Kerala, Konaseema, is a sight to behold with its lush green paddy fields and verdant mangroves dotting the Godavari delta. But nowadays, it is in the news for something else entirely.
Konaseema district of Andhra Pradesh, popular as a tourist spot, has been seeing violence coupled with protests, agitation and clashes. This happened after the Government of Andhra Pradesh decided to rename the district after Dr BR Ambedkar. Curfew has been declared in areas and over 2,000 cops were deployed to maintain peace in the district.
The house of YSRCP MLA from Mummidivaram, P Satish, was set ablaze by groups who are against renaming the district. Additionally, the furniture outside the house of Minister of Transport P Vishwarup was set on fire.
But why is it being renamed now? What's the geographical composition of the district? Who is saying what? We decode all of this here with #WhatTheFAQ.
Why is the district being re-christened?
The renaming comes after the state government's decision to form 13 new districts in the state. Additionally, the Jagan government announced that the Konaseema district will be renamed after Dr BR Ambedkar with two revenue divisions of Amalapuram and Ramachandrapuram.
It was because a few Dalit organisations urged for the district to be renamed after Dr Ambedkar that the move to re-christen it was made. Also, the request was refused by the government earlier.
What about the geographical context?
Konaseema, which is in between the Bay of Bengal and the tributaries of Godavari Water, is renowned as a tourist spot. But, on the other hand, Konaseema is also known for fights and clashes among caste and community-based issues.
As per reports, a few residents of the district claim that only 15 per cent of the Scheduled Castes (SC)/Scheduled Tribes (ST) reside there while the majority is formed by the Kapus and Other Backward Classes (OBC).
While the state says only after requests from the “large SC population” did they go ahead with the name.
Who is saying what about the protests?
State Home Minister Taneti Vanitha said that instead of feeling proud of naming the district after Dr BR Ambedkar, many anti-social incidents are taking place. Further, she blamed Jana Sena Party for creating unrest in the state.
Adding to this, Minister for Transport Vishwarup has blamed the opposition for instigating the protests.
The government advisor on public affairs, Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy stated that the renaming took place after "careful consideration of the composition of the population" and after demands from locals, as stated in a report by The Indian Express.
Few sources stated that Jana Sena Party Chief Pawan Kalyan has refuted the allegations of the Home Minister and said that the government failed miserably to maintain peace and order in the state.
What's happening on the field though?
Seven cases were booked and related to the burning of buses, three non-bailable warrant cases were registered. As many as 72 people were identified for harming public property and creating unrest and among these, 45 have already been arrested, as stated in a report by the Times of India.
Opposing the move to rename the district, organisations, namely, Konaseema Parirakshana Samithi, Konaseema Sadhana Samiti and Konaseema Udyama Samiti, carried out a rally to the District Collectorate on Tuesday demanding the traditional name to be retained.