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Thousands defy government, march for Telangana

Thursday March 10, 2011 08:05:48 PM, Mohammed Shafeeq, IANS

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Braving massive presence of police and paramilitary forces and violating ban orders, thousands of people, demanding separate statehood to Telangana, reached Tank Bund in this Andhra Pradesh capital for the  »

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Hyderabad: Thousands of people from all walks of life violated ban orders and broke police barricades to participate in the 'million march' at Tank Bund here Thursday to intensify the movement for a separate Telangana state.

Normal life came to a standstill in the city as it was virtually under police siege. Over 12,000 personnel from police and central paramilitary forces were deployed to foil the march. However, as the events later showed, the protestors succeeded in holding the march, the first such show of strength in the city for a separate state.

Though the agitators promised that the march would be peaceful, the protests were marred by violence later in the day.

Thousands of people remained in the Tank Bund area even at 6.30 p.m. though the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) had announced that the protest action would conclude at 4 p.m.

As darkness set in and the protestors went on rampage, police used teargas shells to disperse them and take back control of Tank Bund, a three-km-long road along Hussain Sagar Lake connecting the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

The area was rocked by violence as the protestors attacked mediapersons, damaged cameras and vans, vandalized statues of Telugu literary and historical figures and set afire police vehicles.

As many as six statues were damaged and their broken parts were thrown into the lake. More than 25 video and still cameras of mediapersons were destroyed when they were capturing the destruction of the statues.

Hyderabad police commissioner A.K. Khan said he was confident that the situation would be brought under control soon.

The city was rocked first by the large scale traffic curbs imposed by police and later by the protests and the violence.

TJAC, which comprises parties fighting for a separate state, succeeded despite the police carrying out large scale arrests in the entire region. About 50 trains were cancelled to prevent people from other Telangana districts reaching Hyderabad.

Police erected 350 check posts on the outskirts of Hyderabad to prevent Telangana activists from entering the city. Vehicles were allowed only after thorough checking.

It was utter chaos on the roads of Hyderabad and Secunderabad as the curbs imposed by police caused severe inconvenience to students going to exam centres and the people going to offices and work places.

Curfew-like situation prevailed around Tank Bund, secretariat, Raj Bhavan and the assembly.

Tension prevailed at Osmania University as students clashed with police after they were prevented from taking out a rally to Tank Bund. Police fired teargas shells to control the students.

The police arrested dozens of protestors in various parts of the city but around 1 p.m. the activists started reaching Tank Bund in groups from different directions. Soon the crowd swelled to hundreds and then to thousands as they outnumbered the police.

Police arrested TJAC convenor M. Kodandaram, legislators and leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) as they started for Tank Bund from various points in the city.

Two Congress MPs K. Keshava Rao and Madhu Goud Yaskhi, who managed to reach Tank Bund, came under attack. Asking them to resign, the protestors threw footwear, water bottles and other missiles at them. Keshava Rao's vehicle was also damaged by the crowd. The two leaders, however, escaped unhurt.

Kodandaram, who visited Tank Bund in the evening after he was released by police, claimed that the march was a huge success.

TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao also joined the protest and took oath with all the activists to continue their fight for a separate state.






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Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh giving away the Degree to the Students, at the 3rd Convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, in Jammu on March 04, 2011. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir N. N. Vohra and Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah are also seen.



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