Protesters confront poet Sky Baba at the Book Exhibition in Vijayawada on Wednesday evening. (Right) Poet Sky Baba and his family members leaving the Book Exhibition in Vijayawada on Wednesday evening amidst tight police security.
Vijayawada: Sky Baba, a Telugu poet of Telangana faced protests at the Vijayawada Book Festival at the Swarajya Maidan here on Wednesday from the local writers and poets for a penning derogatory and abusive poems against the people of Andhra region during the Telangana agitation in 2014.
Local poets and writers gathered at the book exhibition since evening and distributed the pamphlets penned by Sky Baba during the Telangana agitation. Organisers of the Book Festival had invited Sky Baba along with other Telangana writers and poets for the release of two books, Jal Jala and Makhavi, which are collections of poems.
The organisers earlier announced that the books would be released at 8 pm on Wednesday. Suspecting protests, the organisers announced at 7.30 pm that the book release programme was cancelled. Around 8.30 pm, Sky Baba with his wife came to the venue, where the protests started and continued till 9 pm.
The protestors strongly condemned the abusive language used by Sky Baba in the poems which he wrote referring to Andhra people. The angry protesters demanded that Sky Baba tender an apology for writing derogatory words against the people of Andhra.
But Sky Baba had refused to tender apology, saying that he wrote the poems during the heat of the agitation. Suryaraopet police, who were present on the occasion, escorted the couple to safety and sent away from the venue in a car.
Earlier, police received information about the protests. Central ACP K Srinivas personally monitored the situation. Dozens of police personnel, including inspectors and sub-inspectors were present till 8 pm since evening.
But, most police personnel left the exhibition as they felt writer Sky Baba had left the venue and he would not attend the book release programme.
Surprisingly, he appeared near the dais at about 8.30 pm. Soon after spotting him with his wife, the angry protesters raised slogans ‘Jai Telugu Talli, Jai Telugu Talli’ and strongly condemned the poems write by Sky Baba castigating Andhra people.
They angrily questioned why did he come to Vijayawada when he penned poems against the people of Andhra Pradesh. They also criticised the organisers for inviting Telangana writers and poets for the book release.
However, the organisers made it clear that they had always encouraged the writers and poets for the last 25 years and they don’t have no intention of insulting the people of Andhra Pradesh.
High voltage drama continued at the exhibition for about 30 minutes and the organizers along with the police shielded the couple till the car left the Swarajya Maidan grounds.