Hyderabad tense again; Cops, protesters clash over Telangana

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 28, 2013 10:01 hrs

Hyderabad: The Telangana stir intensified on Monday as angry protesters clashed with the police at the Indira Park in Hyderabad, which has become the epicentre of the pro-Telangana protests, with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leading a 36-hour relay strike, just as the BJP president Rajnath Singh demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh make a statement on the issue and give a timeline. "We want the PM to give a statement on the time frame for the formation of Telangana state," Singh said.

Meanwhile, the Ranga Reddy district court admitted a petition against former home minister P Chidambaram and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde accusing them of cheating the people of Telangana with their statements, according to a report on CNN IBN. The court has directed the police to register a case.

The pro-Telangana activists are upset with yet another delay on the statehood issue and had threatened to intensify the protests in Hyderabad. Earlier on Sunday night too, a group of pro-Telangana activists gheraoed three Congress leaders of the region and allegedly pelted stones at their vehicles.

The Hyderabad police is on alert. It has allowed protesters to continue a 36-hour dharna at Hyderabad's Indira Park today, but has said no more than 2000 people can gather at a time, according to a report on NDTV. Police officers have been asked to ensure that large numbers of people do not enter the city.

For the second consecutive day, the Osmania University here remained tense with police not allowing students to take out a rally. Raising slogans of "Jai Telangana", the students tried to march towards Gun Park near the state assembly but were pushed back by police, who closed the university gates.

Police arrested over 30 students at the Nizam College in the heart of the city when they tried to take out a rally to Telangana Martyrs' Memorial at Gun Park.

Tension also prevailed at Indira Park, where Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) members continued their protest for the second day.

Students trying to take out a rally from Indira Park clashed with police when they were stopped. Some protestors removed barricades but were stopped by police officials, who did not allow them to proceed on the ground that no prior permission was taken for the rally.

Students were also stopped from joining the protest at Indira Park as the police had Sunday granted permission for demonstrations there on the condition that no more than 2,000 people would participate in it.

Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary K. Narayana and other party leaders and activists reached Indira Park in a rally.

The numbers at Indira Park swelled since morning as students and leaders of various parties also joined the protest.

There were also protests at the Kakatiya University in Warangal town. Some pro-Telangana students with petrol bottles in their hands climbed on a building, threatening to commit suicide if other students arrested by the police were not released. The arrests were made when students were trying to take out a rally.

Accusing the Congress party of betrayal, Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), which is spearheading the movement, has decided to train guns on the ministers and parliament members of the ruling party.

JAC chairman M. Kodandaram Monday morning held an emergency meeting of the apex body at the venue of its ongoing protest here to chalk out future course of action to intensify the agitation.

The action plan would be announced in the evening when Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao also would address the protestors at the city's Indira Park.

Devi Prasad, one of the JAC leaders, said they would mount pressure on the Congress leaders to quit. One of the suggestions at the meeting was to call for the boycott of Congress ministers, MPs and state legislators.

The TRS, which was attacking the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress Party for not coming out in support of the Telangana demand, has now decided to target the Congress party as well.

"Our slogan now is 'Congress ko khatam karo, Telangana hasil karo (finish off Congress, achieve Telangana)'," said TRS legislator K. Tarakarama Rao, son of Chandrasekhara Rao.

The TRS leaders vent their ire at the Congress leaders, especially some ministers, for not speaking out strongly against the statements made by Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is in charge of the party affairs in Andhra Pradesh.

Senior minister K. Jana Reddy, who is leading the ministers and legislators from the region, said he still hoped that the Congress-led UPA would grant statehood to Telangana. Chandrasekhara Rao bluntly asked Jana Reddy to stop playing the tricks.

Shinde, who had declared after the Dec 28 all-party meeting that a decision would be taken within a month, Sunday said it would take some more time for consultations. Azad said there was no time frame for concluding the consultations.

The anger among pro-Telangana groups was evident when Congress MPs Ponnam Prabhakar and G. Vivek and senior leader K. Keshava Rao were heckled at the Indira Park late Sunday when they came to address the protestors. TRS leaders came to the rescue of the Congress leaders to address the gathering.

Some Congress MPs are reportedly planning to quit the party. They are likely to either join the TRS or float a separate outfit to fight for the Telangana cause. However, ministers and legislators want to wait for the central government's announcement.

Students' groups, especially those from the Osmania University in Hyderabad, have also threatened to attack Congress leaders either to mount pressure on the central government to carve out Telangana state or to quit the party.

Meanwhile, responding to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left Parties' sharp criticism for deferring a decision on whether Andhra Pradesh should be split to create a separate state, Congress Party on Monday said the issue surrounding the Telangana statehood demand is a very sensitive one and a decision in this regard would be taken at an appropriate time.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said the sentiments of the people of Andhra are attached to the Telangana statehood issue.

"The Telangana issue is a very sensitive issue. It is an emotional issue. Sentiments of the people of Andhra are attached to it. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is the in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, has already given his statement in this regard. At an appropriate time, the decision will be taken and will be announced," he said.

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