Angry Telangana leaders called for a shutdown Saturday in protest against what they said was use of excessive force by the state government to prevent the Chalo Assembly programme of pro-Telangana groups on Friday. The protests were partially successful although all TRS,BJP and CPI MLAs and leaders were arrested by noon along with hundreds of protesters.
Besides,deploying over 20,000 police,paramilitary,and AP Special Police personnel,squads of sub-inspectors and constables were used to lock down several residential areas and societies keeping citizens indoors and scaring off commuters. Osmania University campus turned into a war-zone as hundreds of students clashed with police. Police lobbed tear-gas shells in which several students were injured. All schools,business establishments and offices remained closed. Public transport facilities were cancelled putting people to immense hardships.
Prof M Kodandaram,convener of Telangana Joint Action Committee,was allegedly roughed up and man-handled before being bundled into a car and placed under arrest at Ashoknagar. The government has turned Hyderabad into a police camp but that has failed to stop us from organising this protest. Our goal was to reach Assembly complex and highlight our demand for Telangana and we have done that. It appears martial law has been imposed. Policemen have been given orders to intimidate and threaten the common man even if he is going to work, Prof Kodandaram said over phone after his arrest.
In spite of the clampdown,D Vijay Bhaskar,MLA Warangal (West) and Kaveti Samaiah,Sirpur MLA,climbed the Assembly building and hoisted a black flag,even as CM N Kiran Kumar Reddy was inside the House. Security personnel wrestled the MLAs down after an hour-long ruckus,following which Medak MP Vijaya Shanti made a dramatic appearance and was arrested. Inside the House,TRS and TDP MLAs disrupted proceedings over government crackdown prompting Speaker N Manohar to adjourn the house till Monday.
As hundreds of protesters were arrested across the city,TRS president K Chandrasekhara Rao alleged that the government was scared and was using repressive methods to scuttle the agitation.
TRS: Govt brought in non-Telangana cops
The Kiran Kumar Reddy government played the classic Andhra versus Telangana game when it came to deploying policemen to foil the Chalo Assembly march on Friday,Telangana leaders alleged. The majority of the sub-inspectors and constables manning barricades and barbed wire fences erected across Hyderabad and Secunderabad,and then confronted protesters,were from non-Telangana districts.
The Telangana leaders alleged that since non-Telangana policemen were biased against formation of a separate state,they cracked down on innocent civilians and protesters with brutality across the city.
Stating that inspectors,sub-inspectors and constables of Telangana districts had to remain in their respective districts to maintain law and order Friday,the government had brought in several lower rank police officials from Coastal and Rayalaseema districts for bandobast for the Chalo Assembly march. They were instructed not to let anyone,whether it was a private company employee,a doctor,or pro-Telangana protester,to leave the premises where they were locked in.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti MLA K T Rama Rao,son of party chief K Chandrasekhara Rao,said,It was so evident that it was a crackdown of Rayalaseema-Andhra cops on Telangana people. Majority of the policemen we encountered during the protest were non-Telangana. It was done deliberately so that the police show no mercy or respect. Rao said.