Hyderabad: Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma today said the role of "Left-wing extremists" is being suspected in stirring up the violence resulting in massive damage to properties and arson as the activists defied prohibitory orders and joined the 'Telangana march' for a separate state.
"There are inputs that some Left-wing extremist groups infiltrated the movement leading to attacks on private properties and other damages," Sharma told a press conference held here in the backdrop of violent clashes between pro-Telangana activists and police in many parts of the city throughout the day.
Sharma said the Telangana Political Joint Action Committee (JAC) went back on its word to organise a peaceful march although police exercised maximum restraint in quelling the protests that involved damage to property and arson.
"Though we tried our best by making all arrangements and even gave the protesters specific areas, routes towards the venue i.e Sanjeevaiya Park on Necklace Road, but some of them tried to break the barricades at Tankbund where immersion of Ganesha idols was going on.
They also violated prohibitory rules and when police objected, they threw stones at police," Sharma said.
He pegged the number of pro-Telangana activists participating in the march at 80,000-1 lakh.
On overall damage to public and private properties, Sharma said 25 police vehicles were damaged -- three of them burnt -- by arsonists, while a railway cabin and railway track at near Necklace Road station were also damaged.
"In addition, protesters pelted stones at trains, attacked media persons and damaged two OB vans of two Telugu channels," he said.
Sharma said altogether 19 policemen were injured, two seriously, in stone-pelting.
SP (Intelligence) Rajasekhar and Police Inspector Gopala Rao were seriously injured after they were hit by stones, he said, adding 4-5 protesters were injured in the lathicharge.
Police exercised maximum restraint and used tear gas, water cannons and mild lathicharge as a last resort to quell violence, Sharma added.
Pro-Telangana activists also made a determined bid and broke the police cordon at VB Statue and I-Max Rotary besides damaging two restaurants near Jal Vihar, he said.
Despite the assurance given by organisers, some of the participants in the march indulged in the large-scale violence and arson with an intention of creating panic in minds of Hydrabadis, the police commissioner said.
"They indulged in heavy stone-pelting and used ballasts from the railway tracks," he said.
On accusation that police detained a large number of protesters, Sharma said, "We have to make regulations and we have made it very clear why were we making them. When immersion of Ganesha idols was on at Tankbund we had told them (activists) to change the venue or the date of the march but they did not agree, and wanted to make it on very same day and they violated the restrictions".
He, however, did not elaborate on the number of people being detained by police.
On JAC chairman M Kodandram asking the protesters gathered at the Necklace Road at Hussain Sagar lake to stay put at the venue overnight, Sharma said, "their meeting is still going on, and around 2-3000 protesters are sitting there. We will act accordingly...Law will take its own course".
On global biodiversity meet beginning tomorrow, the police chief said, "we will provide security and there will be no compromise on it. We are confident and assure security for the venue and delegates".