Thursday, 5 May 2011

Kadapa by-polls: Notorious Kadapa bombs conspicuous by their absence

By Syed Akbar
Kadapa, May 5: The notorious Kadapa bombs, earlier sold for just Rs 60 a piece, are 
conspicuous by their absence this crucial by-election to Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency. 
Election is scheduled for May 8 and thus far the police have not laid their hands on the 
“bomb consignment”.

Kadapa has the dubious distinction of being a district of bombs, blood, political rivalry 
and faction feuds. Readymade bombs are sold in isolated localities in villages notorious 
for faction fights. During elections bombs are made to order to suit the needs of the 
contesting candidates. But this time, Kadapa bombs are conspicuous by their absence and 
even there’s no talk of crude bomb in faction villages of Pulivendula, Kamalapuram, 
Jammalamadugu and Proddatur.

“We used to get bombs for as low as Rs 60 a piece. If it is of relatively high intensity 
with glass pieces, the price goes up to Rs 150 per bomb,” a villager told this 
correspondent in Proddatur. Asked why there’s no talk of crude bombs, he pointed out that 
former chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy had brought about a rapprochement among feudal 
leaders and put an end to the bomb culture. Incidentally, the elections in 2009 were free 
of bomb attacks. Most the polls held prior to 2009 witnessed violent incidents.

Bombs are prepared in villages far away from the State or national highways based on the 
order given by faction leaders. They are then put in plastic buckets filled with husk or 
sand to avoid accidental blast due to friction. These buckets are then hidden under 
haystacks meant for cattle feed, or in cattle sheds to avoid easy detection by the police.

Besides bombs, the other dreaded weapon used in these parts is “Eetapulla” (a long, sharp 
knife resembling a phoenix leaf). Unlicensed pistols, revolvers and guns are quite common 
in faction villages.

With the nation turning its eyes on Kadapa and Pulivendula, the Election Commission has 
ensured that the police conduct surprise raids on suspicious villages and seize weapons 
for violence-free elections. So far the police have taken possession of 1240 licensed 
weapons, 16 unlicensed (estimates put the unlicensed weapons at more than 1000), 1248 
gelatin sticks, 1000 detonators and four bombs.

The police have booked non-bailable cases against 255 people and bound over 10,615 
trouble mongers for good conduct. They include bomb makers, rigging expert and vote 
“cycling” leaders from hypersensitive and sensitive villages and towns.

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