Hyderabad, June 14 (IANS) Amid resounding cries of ‘Jai Telangana’, police Friday foiled a march called by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) to seek a separate Telangana but protests across the city threw normal life out of gear.
Hundreds of people including MPs, state legislators, leaders of political parties, students, lawyers, women and others were arrested in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has called for a shutdown in Telangana Saturday to condemn the crackdown. TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao demanded immediate release of all those arrested.
Traffic restrictions imposed in central Hyderabad were relaxed in the evening, providing some relief to the citizens.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Congress general secretary incharge of Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad enquired with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy about the ‘chalo assembly’ march.
The chief minister thanked the central government for providing central forces to maintain law and order.
Hyderabad had turned into a war zone with police sealing all routes leading to the Andhra Pradesh assembly to prevent protesters from laying siege to the building.
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from parts of the city. Top leaders of JAC and legislators were arrested at various places for defying prohibitory orders.
While police heaved a sigh of relief over the day passing off without any major trouble, the JAC claimed a moral victory.
JAC chairman M. Kodandaram, Srinivas Goud and others were arrested when they gathered at Indira Park to march towards the assembly.
Tension prevailed at the site as protestors stoned the policemen deployed in large numbers to prevent any gathering. Police retaliated with tear gas.
Osmania University also witnessed violence. Students, stopped by police from taking out a rally, resorted to stone throwing. The police responded with tear gas. Four students were injured in the clashes.
Legislators of TRS, BJP and CPI and those of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) from the region were arrested in the assembly when they staged protests.
Two TRS legislators who climbed on the assembly building and hoisted a black flag were brought down and arrested. Other party legislators conducted a mock funeral of the chief minister. The protests by legislators led to the adjournment of the house for the day.
TRS MPs Vijayshanti, G. Vivek and Manda Jagannatham and other party leaders were arrested near assembly.
Others arrested also include TRS chief Rao’s daughter Kavitha, BJP state president G. Kishan Reddy and CPI state secretary K. Narayana.
The protests and the unprecedented traffic restrictions hit normal life in parts of the city. There was no impact on life in other parts of the city and the IT district of Cyberabad, the hub of national and multinational software giants.
About 15,000 policemen and personnel from central paramilitary forces were deployed as part of the security arrangements.
Telangana, comprising 10 districts including Hyderabad, has a population of 35.28 million population out of Andhra Pradesh’s total population of 84.6 million.
The demand for separate statehood the backward region is over four decades old. In 2009, following massive protests, the centre had announced that the process of formation of separate state will be initiated.
However, the process was put on hold due to opposition in Seemandhra (as Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions are generally referred to). Since then Telangana has been witnessing political turmoil and the protests.