The police took into custody more than 50 Congress workers and the Public Club committee members on Tuesday after they allegedly tried to enter the district Public Club premises to hoist the National Flag.
“We were not told why we were being arrested, the police just forced us into the vehicles and took 13 of us to Mellacheruvu station,” said K. Vena Reddy, convenor of Public Club.
The Public Club management committee was elected during the Congress rule and the committee members were close associates of Congress party leaders. The club was closed after its documents were seized by the Revenue Department over alleged mismanagement and lapses in permission.
It was reopened in June after the Court intervened, which also directed the RDO to conduct a general body meeting to draw guidelines and conduct elections afresh.
Meanwhile, an ad hoc committee was formed by the members close to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi party, and headed by K. Ganna Reddy to manage the Public Club. “Our plans are to model the Club on the lines of the Nalgonda Club, but not to conduct illegal activities like the former did. They have made it a Congress party office,” a member unwilling to be quoted said. Mr. Ganna Reddy was unavailable for comment.
According to the police, it had “taken 13 members into preventive custody outside the Public Club in the morning and released later.”
On learning about the arrests, senior Congress leader from the town Ramreddy Damodar Reddy staged a protest at the Gandhi statue in the town, condemning the behaviour of the police and demanding justice.
“Is it a crime to hoist the flag on the Independence Day? It is only injustice that is prevailing under the rule of this Government. Minister Jagadish Reddy is behind all this police drama and we will approach the Human Rights Commission,” he said.
The members later burnt the effigies of Minister for Energy and SC Development G. Jagadish Reddy amid strong sloganeering, leading to the police intervening and arresting another 50 Congress party workers.
Mr. Damodar Reddy, a diabetic, who suffered minor injury in the scuffle fell unconscious and was taken to a hospital. Kodad MLA Padmavathi Reddy, who was also present at the protest, accompanied him to the Area Hospital.