Andhra Leaks Part 6: When Violence Worked

Picture showing four youngsters (Sriramulu, Nageshwar Rao, Guruswami, Ezrah who were gunned down at Nellore Railway station during the riots that followed Potti Sriramulu’s death on December 15th 1952.

Not many people know about these martyrs. The story of how scores of agitators were gunned down by security forces in the orgy of violence that followed Sriramulu’s death, was never recorded in the ‘official’ history books of this state.

The people of this country and state were fed on blatant lies in the name of history. (Read previous parts of this series to know more about these lies and deceit)

A wave of hysterical emotion swept the Andhra, Rayalaseema regions after Potti Sriramulu’s death in December, 1952. Here are some glimpses of what happened.

In the words of historian KV Narayana Rao

“the disturbances reached a climax on 16 December. Mobs raided the Vijayawada railway station. Wagons were looted. Seven pople were killed in police firings in different places. The damage to railway properties was estimated by the government at Rs. 50 Lakhs.”

A.N Rai, Deputy Inspector General of Police, of that time wrote this in his report:

“The local terrorists took advantage of the unsettled conditions and started vehement campaign against the Congress and Praja Socialists. The agitation on 16-12-52 started with hartals and processions in Nellore town and by the evening the attention of the agitators was diverted to the railway station yard where railway properties were damaged and vehicles burnt. They also tried to over-power the police force that attempted to stop the further damage by the mob”

The Hindu Newspaper dated Dec 17, 1952 reports thus:

“Vijayawada railway sation and surrounding were occupied by a mob, and the railway officials and worked were shoved out of the station precincts at noon today”

“the Southern Railway head-quarters have received information that a huge mob raided the Vijayawada railway station. looted the entire building and cut off all communications.”

“At Vijayawada Railway Station, a big crowd of labourers, including men and women, broke open about 300 loaded wagons stabled in the yards with rice, paddy or wheat and carried away on their heads”

The Hindu Newspaper dated Dec 17, 1952 reported that locals looted rice bags at a Railway Station near Navabpalem in West Godavari district.

Wide spread destruction railway properties was reported from all districts of Andhra and Rayalaseema. Some notable incidents of arson were reported from Guntur, where some unruly elements damaged the railway station and burnt some records in the Parcel Office.

Railway stations at Rajahmundry, Duggirala, Tenali, Ongole bore the brunt of the agitators ire.

While scores of agitators were gunned down by security forces, the Seemandhra leaders did not record their deaths in the history books. No memorial was set up anywhere in the Seemandhra region.

This contrasts to the level of false propaganda that surrounds Potti Sriramulu’s fast unto death to claim Madras city.

The reason is not difficult to understand.

The Seemandhra leadership never wanted the world to know about the orgy of violence that was unleashed preceding the Andhra state formation.

But, can they hide this bitter truth for ever?

[Inputs from Lisa Mitchell’s book ‘Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India’

Read previous parts of the Andhra Leaks Series here:

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