Amaravati: In solidarity with the farmers of Amaravati who have been protesting against the state government's decision to have three state capitals, NRIs from Andhra Pradesh will protest in 300 cities around the world on 3 July.
More than 24,000 farmers of Amaravati have been on the warpath ever since the YSRCP government in the state announced on 17 December last year its decision to have three state capitals - the executive capital at Visakhapatnam, the legislative capital at Amaravati, and the judicial capital at Kurnool.
The Andhra NRIs said they will continue to help the agitating farmers of Amaravati financially and morally in their fight against the government's decision to shift the capital. Thousands of Telugu NRIs in the US and other countries are planning demonstrations for 3 July to express their solidarity with the farmers.
The Amaravati farmers, who belong to 29 villages, had given nearly 34,000 acres of their fertile land for the capital city during the previous Telugu Desam Party regime in 2015. Now, they are opposing the move to shift the capital from Amaravati claiming that they have sacrificed their livelihood in anticipation of the development of a world-class capital city.
“For the past 200 days, these farmers have been waging a relentless battle demanding that Amaravati be retained as the capital of Andhra Pradesh. They took out rallies, held relay hunger strikes, blocked the national highways, and braved arrests and attacks from the police. Some of the farmers died of heart attacks due to psychological pressure,” said B. Jayaram Komati from California.
Mr. Komati, the former president of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) and former special representative of AP government for North America, said representatives of NRI Telugu associations in the US have decided to stage demonstrations in as many as 200 cities in support of the Amaravati farmers' 200 days of agitation.
“We thought of taking out huge rallies but because of the COVID-19 pandemic we won’t be able to get permission for the same. So, we have decided to hold candle-light rallies in these cities to convey our solidarity with the fighting farmers of Amaravati,” he said.
He further said that Telugus in several other cities had also come forward to hold rallies after they came to know of their proposal. “Andhra people in other countries like Singapore, Thailand, Australia, England, and New Zealand have also shown an interest in organising similar demonstrations. In all, the protests are likely to take place in 300 cities,” he said.
The NRI Telugus have contributed to the building of the state capital. When former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had launched a campaign 'My Brick, My Amaravati' to sell “electronic bricks” to build the city, they had responded in huge numbers. Mr. Komati said the Andhra NRIs will continue to help the farmers of Amaravati. “We will use all our resources and influences to see that the capital is retained at Amaravati,” he said.