Hyderabad: Almost one lakh people took to the streets in Hyderabad on Sunday to press for their demand of a separate state – Telangana. They clashed with police, broke barriers and tried to enter prohibited areas as police lathicharged them, lobbed tear gas shells and used water cannons to disperse the crowds. Many private, police vehicles and OB vans were damaged in the violence and all regional news channels were blacked out in the city.
"Twenty to 25 policemen including an IPS officer have been injured. Four or five people got hurt in the lathicharge," said Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma.
The permission to organise the 'Telangana March' was granted on Saturday after talks were held between the government and the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC). The orders said that the rally would be held from 3 pm to 7 pm at the Necklace Road. But the Telangana supporters did not leave afterwards, braving rain as well as water cannons and tear gas.
A few protesters and scores of policemen were injured in the violence. Many vehicles and OB vans were also reported to have been damaged.
But the situation got tensed in the city when the demonstrators tried to enter prohibited areas and clashed with police.
Incidents of violence were reported from the Osmania University campus, Khairatabad and the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat. When the protesters were stopped from passing by the Secretariat road and some other areas where prohibitory orders were in place, they pelted stones and tried to remove the barricades which prompted the security personnel to lob tear gas shells after trying to chase them away.
"Protesters were directionless on their way towards the venue. They tried to proceed through prohibited areas," Director General (law and order) SA Huda said.
The students of the Osmania University also clashed with the police when they tried to take out a motorcycle rally. Police said there was no permission for motorcycle rallies. Stone pelting was also reported at the university.
A few other pro-Telangana activists belonging to various students organisations, who tried to take out a rally to join the 'Telangana
March', could not do so as the government had denied them permission.
Police also caned scores of Telangana activists after they pelted stones at them near the Secretariat, IMAX theatre, Khairatabad and other places on way to Necklace Road.
Earlier in the day, six Congress MPs and party leader Keshava Rao were detained when they staged a dharna at the camp office of Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy as they were not allowed to meet him over the detention of Telangana supporters, who were on their way to Hyderabad to participate in the march.
Leaders of various political parties and outfits, including TRS and BJP, alleged that thousands of pro-Telangana supporters and their activists were taken into preventive custody when they were on their way to participate in the march.
Police had made elaborate security arrangements by deploying several companies of paramilitary forces in the city.
Apparently fearing violence, the South Central Railway on Sunday cancelled as many as 27 passenger trains, including local trains. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation curtailed some bus services in the city.
The DGP, who conducted an aerial survey of the city to monitor the security arrangements and movement of marches, had earlier warned of stern action against law-breakers.
Meanwhile, the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) had to late in the night call off their protest rally because of rains. The pro-Telangana group announced that it will continue with its protest programs like hunger strikes etc from October 2 onwards. The activists will meet on Monday to plan their further course of action.
The JAC had earlier asked its supporters to stay put at the venue of the 'Telangana march' to pressure the government for announcement of separate state.
(With additional information from PTI)