Tension prevailed for some time in Machilipatnam, the headquarters of Krishna district, on Sunday morning after unidentified miscreants vandalised the statue of Kapu leader and former MLA Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga. The bust-sized cement statue of the departed leader at Radio Centre in Nizampet area of the town was found destroyed and the broken pieces were scattered on the ground. Ranga's brother Sobhana Chalapathi Rao had unveiled the statue, installed by Radha-Ranga Mitra Mandali, in 1989.
Alerted by locals, the R Pet police rushed to the spot and took stock of the situation. Clues team and dog squad were pressed into service. Sniffer dogs went to Nizampet and Machilipatnam Bypass Road, Mudu Stambala Centre, Vaddera Colony and Mudu Stambala Centre at Balarampet, came back to the Bypass Road and stopped at a chapta on Burial Ground Road.
Meanwhile, youth from Kapu community in the town led by their leaders came out to the streets protesting the destruction of Ranga's statue. They performed 'Palabhishekam' to Ranga's statue at Revathi Centre and staged a rasta-roko for some time. The protesters demanded that the culprits be brought to the book immediately, else it would send a wrong signal to the community. Ranga was well-liked by all, especially the poor, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, they recalled.
Later in the day, Ranga's son Radha also visited the spot and condemned the act of vandalism. He called upon the departed leaders' followers and Kapu members to maintain restraint, and also demanded the police to bring the culprits to book at the earliest. BC welfare minister Kollu Ravindra, who also visited the spot, assured that the culprits would be punished and efforts made to install a new statue in place of the vandalised one.
Deputy superintendent of police D Sravan Kumar said that additional police force has been deployed in the city as a precautionary measure and the search for the culprits has been intensified. No suspects have been taken into custody yet. A case has been registered investigation is in on.