BJP State president Somu Veerraju and general secretary S. Vishnuvardhan Reddy were arrested at the District Collector’s bungalow when the party leaders and cadre tried to picket it opposing the restrictions imposed on the celebration of Vinayaka Chavithi at public places.
The cadre picketed the District Collector’s office.
The arrested leaders were detained in the police station at 7.15 p.m. till the situation subsided.
After the regional conference, the BJP leaders, including national secretary Y. Satya Kumar, Mr. Veerraju and Mr. Vishnuvardhan Reddy, staged a dharna at the Raj Vihar Centre holding idols of Lord Ganesh.
They vowed to continue the agitation till the government withdrew the directive banning Ganesh puja in public places.
Addressing the protesters, Mr. Veerraju asked the people to celebrate the festival in the open by following all the COVID-19 protocols, and questioned the government’s rationale behind banning “only Hindu festivities,” while allowing prayers in churches, rituals during Ramzan and Peerla Pandaga in Rayalaseema.
“It is unfortunate on the part of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to show the August 28 guidelines issued by the Central Government as an alibi for the ban. If prayers can be held in temples and namaz in masjids, what is wrong in performing Ganesh puja in public places in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols?” he asked.
During the hour-long dharna at the Raj Vihar Centre, the BJP leaders asked people to be non-violent and dared the police to arrest them.
Later, the BJP leaders went to the District Collector’s bungalow to picket it, where Mr. Vishnuvardhan and Mr. Veerraju were arrested.
In Anantapur too the police cordoned off the area near Tower Clock and did not allow BJP cadre to gather anywhere near it.
The material brought for erecting a pandal and performing puja at Saptagiri Circle was unloaded and kept ready, and the police were guarding that area too.