A nervous N Kiran Kumar Reddy government today used a combination of intimidation,threats and coercion to scuttle the ‘Chalo Assembly’ programme called by the pro-Telangana groups to protest against the delay in creation of Telangana state. Besides deploying over 20,000 police,paramilitary,and Andhra Pradesh Special Police,squads of sub-inspectors and constables summoned from Coastal Andhra districts locked down all residential areas and societies keeping citizens prisoners inside for the entire day,and terrorising office-goers,commuters and anyone who dared to venture out of their homes. Erecting barricades and barbed wire fences on every road,cops prevented people from going to work,even doctors and hospital staff were not allowed.
The brute force used by police was evident in the manner in which an intellectual leader like Prof M Kodandaram,Convenor of Telangana Joint Action Committee,was roughed up and man-handled before being bundled into a car and placed under arrest at Ashoknagar. The 57-year-old political science professor was gasping for breath by the time he was pushed into a police vehicle.
“The government has turned Hyderabad into a police camp but has failed to stop us from organizing this protest. Our goal was to reach Assembly complex and highlight our demand for Telangana and we have successfully done that. If you look at how police is behaving,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 he was arrested.
In spite of such unprecedented police bandobast,cops failed to protect the Assembly complex which was the target of the ‘Chalo Assembly programme. Two Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) MLAs scaled the building and hoisted a black flag marking their protest against the delay in creation of Telangana state,even while Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy was inside the House. D Vijay Bhaskar,MLA from Warangal (West) and Kaveti Samaiah,MLA from Sirpur,hoodwinked cops and managed to climb up the iconic Assembly building and threatened to jump if they were arrested. Assembly marshals and security personnel managed to wrestle them down after an hour-long ruckus. Then,TRS MP from Medak Vijaya Shanti made a dramatic appearance in the Assembly Complex and was promptly arrested. TRS MLAs,and Telangana MLAs of TDP,disrupted proceedings in the House protesting against the ”undemocratic and repressive manner in which the government cracked down on the protestors,prompting Speaker N Manohar to adjourn the house till Monday.
Protestors were clashing with security personnel at every nook and corner of the city where barricades were set up. Hundreds of protestors were arrested and taken to various police stations across the city. The BJP,CPI and CPM have supported the pro-Telangana groups in the protest. Large number of BJP workers were also arrested by police. CPIs AP State Secretary K Narayana said that he had never seen such a police presence and brute use of force. “In the name of traffic restrictions,they have locked up residents in their neighbourhoods. They simply cannot go out,” he said.
TRS President K Chandrasekhara Rao alleged that the government was scared and frightened of Telangana people and was using repressive methods to scuttle the agitation. “This government is frightened and scared of Telangana protests,even though it was meant to be peaceful. Police is trying to muzzle the movement by arresting everyone,” KCR said.
The Osmania University campus turned into a war-zone as hundreds of students clashed with police and vent their anger at media persons covering the events unfolding there. Police lobbed tear-gas shells in which several students were injured.
All schools,business establishments were offices remained closed due to the police lockdown. Public transport facilities were cancelled putting people,especially those arriving at railway stations and airport,to immense hardships.