A policewoman in plainclothes, allegedly masquerading as an agitator, was seen at a protest in Hyderabad on Monday, leading to criticism that the TRS government was trying to infiltrate protest movements by using the police. The protest on Monday was over shifting Dharna Chowk from its current location in Indira Park to the outskirts.
On Monday, the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), led by Prof M Kodandaram, along with the Congress, Left parties, Telugu Desam Party, BJP and rights activists had called a Save Dharna Chowk protest at Indira Park, near the Telangana Secretariat.
Earlier this year, the TRS government proposed to shift the chowk to the outskirts of the city after residents complained of too much noise owing to protesters using bullhorns and loudspeakers, causing traffic congestion.
On Monday, residents clashed with people wanting to keep the Dharna Chowk in the city. Inspector K Sridevi of Necklace Road Police Station was seen among the residents. She was seen holding up a placard, demanding the chowk be shifted. There are allegations that besides Sridevi, there were several other police personnel of other police stations also protesting with the residents.
As the Opposition piled on heat on Tuesday, Police Commissioner M Mahender Reddy transferred Sridevi to the police control room, pending an inquiry. When The Indian Express called her number for her comment, she was unavailable. D Joel Davis, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central Zone said that as part of the security plan, uniformed police personnel as well as those in plain clothes were deployed at Dharna Chowk. “Inspector K Sridevi was drafted for surveillance duty in plainclothes to watch over any anti-social elements. It has come to our notice that during the bandobust K Sridevi was found holding a placard among the protesters. An inquiry has been ordered,” he said.
Opposition parties have claimed that the police personnel first participated in the protest in civilian clothes. They later changed into uniform at the Necklace Road police station and went back to the protest site and baton-charged the agitators demanding that the chowk should not be moved out of the city.
“We suspect that none of the actual local residents were present there. To vitiate the atmosphere, the government deputed TRS party workers and police personnel in plainclothes to attack the protesters and create a violent situation so that the Opposition parties could be blamed later. It has backfired and the government has been caught red-handed doing the mischief,’’ said Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president N Uttam Kumar Reddy.