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Andhra Pradesh: Police rush to violence-hit state

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Visakhapatnam: After violence rocked East Godavari district Tuni town, by kapus protesters demanding reservation, additional police and paramilitary forces rushed to coastal Andra Pradesh on Monday.

Police imposed prohibitory orders banning assembly of four or more persons across East Godavari district and beefed up security to prevent any untoward incident.

Senior police officials including additional director general of police (law and order) R P Thakur have reached Tuni to review the situation.

Police began investigations into Sunday’s violence in which a train, two police stations and 25 vehicles were torched. Fifteen policemen and four railway employees were injured in the violence.

The investigating officials were screening video footage to identify miscreants who torched train and police stations. The arrests are likely to be made later in the day.

Personnel of Andhra Pradesh Special Police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Rapid Action Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been deployed in Tuni and other places in the district.

Kumar Viswajeet, the inspector general of police, north coastal Andhra, told reporters in Tuni that forces were deployed in all places and that they were ready to deal with any situation.

More than 3,500 security personnel were deployed in Tuni and other sensitive places in the district.

Security has also been tightened in Vijayawada with the deployment of special forces to prevent any violence.

Rail and road traffic between Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada restored late Sunday night after M Padmanabhan, a key Kapu leader, announced the withdrawal of agitation.

He, however, threatened to go on ‘fast-unto-death’ if the government failed to respond by Monday evening on the demand for including Kapus in the list of backward castes.

Several trains were cancelled or diverted since Sunday afternoon when protestors torched Ratnachal Express near Tuni station. All 24 bogies were gutted in the incident. Railway officials estimate the loss to be Rs.30 crore.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation with Director General of Police J V Ramudu and other top officials.

Terming the violence as ‘pre-planned’, Naidu asked officials to deal firmly with those involved.(IANS)

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Protesters Raise Voice Against Bushfire Crisis in Australia

Protests Erupt as Australia’s Bushfire Crisis Continues

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Protesters hold placards
Protesters hold placards during a climate change rally in Sydney, Australia. VOA

Climate change rallies have been held in Australia by thousands of protesters critical of the government’s handling of the bushfire crisis. A demonstration in Sydney has reportedly attracted 30,000 people, while events have also been held in other major cities.

“Sack the prime minister,” protesters chanted as they turned on Australia’s conservative leader, Scott Morrison. He is accused of not taking global warming seriously and of underplaying its role in the bushfire emergency. Protesters believe that “fossil fuel loving politicians” have overseen “decades of climate destruction.”

They want the Morrison government to phase out the use of fossil fuels. That is unlikely given their immense value to the Australian economy. Coal generates much of the nation’s electricity and earns billions of dollars through exports to China, India and other countries.

The prime minister has previously defended his energy and climate policies as adequate and responsible, but at least one protester in Sydney is demanding he give a more sensitive response to the bushfire emergency.

Protesters hold placards
Protesters raising their voices against the government not doing enough to stop bushfire crisis in Australia. VOA

“Humanely, with empathy. I think that is a huge thing,” the protester said. “I think the way Scott Morrison has handled this and his lack of empathy to the whole situation is embarrassing. I would like the firefighters to be funded more, I would like more schemes to be set up, and just money and to actually admit that climate change is real, like it is clearly happening and this is what we are doing about it. We are marching.”

Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews had urged the organizers of a rally in Melbourne to postpone the protest because it would put pressure on police resources during the bushfire crisis. But despite that plea, and heavy rain, hundreds of people turned out to join a nationwide chorus of anger and frustration.

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Dozens of fires continue to burn, mostly in southeastern Australia. Cooler conditions are forecast for the next week, which will help the firefighting effort. In New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, 147 bush and grass fires are burning. Sixty-five have yet to be contained.

Since September, at least 27 people have died in Australia’s bushfires. More than 10 million hectares (24 million acres) of land — an area bigger than Portugal — have been scorched. (VOA)