Hyderabad: Osmania University once again on Thursday witnessed pitched battle between the police and pro-Telangana activists over a reported proposal by GoM to merge two districts of Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh with the proposed state. The bandh called by the TRS on the issue hit normal life in the region.
The pro-Telangana students attacked security personnel with stones prompting them to lob tear gas shells, after the protesters were prevented from taking out a rally from the varsity.
The protesting students wanted to take out a procession from the OU campus as part of the bandh call given by TRS to oppose the proposal of Rayala Telangana. However, police stopped them near NCC gate on the campus, police said.
Angered over not being allowed to take out the rally, the slogan shouting protesters forcibly tried to pull aside the barricades on the OU campus and also poured petrol and set on fire some of the barricades.
The students then started hurling stones at police after which the security personnel lobbed tear-gas shells to disperse them, they said.
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“The stone pelting is continuing and police fired tear-gas shells to disperse the protesters and control the situation,” OU Inspector P. Ashok told PTI. An inspector, Vijay Srinivas, sustained minor injuries in the attack, he said.
Meanwhile, police began efforts to take the protesting students into preventive custody. Pro-Telangana students had also clashed with police on Wednesday when the latter foiled their plan to take out a bike rally from the OU campus towards Gun Park as part of protest rallies’ call given against the proposal of Rayala Telangana.
The situation on the OU campus otherwise had remained peaceful for the past several months after the ruling Congress (at Centre) approved creation of a separate Telangana state.
In Nampally, lawyers locked the gates of the civil court and prevented judges from entering on Wednesday. The lawyers raised slogans against the Rayala-Telangana proposal.
At Rajendranagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Agriculture University students blocked a convoy of YSRC president Jagan Mohan Reddy who was returning from Chennai after meeting Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The pro-Telangana activists threw rotten fruits at his convoy and tried to block his journey. The police had to use mild force to disperse the students.
Meanwhile, bus services of the state-run State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) were badly affected as TRS leaders and workers held protests near bus stations at different places in Telangana since morning. Shops and other commercial establishments did not open at various places in the region. The personnel of coal mines in the region have also stayed away from work, according to reports reaching here.
The bandh was called by TRS and other pro-Telangana organisations against reported proposal of a bigger Telangana which entails splitting Rayalaseema region and adding two of its four districts to the ten districts of proposed Telangana state. TRS had appealed to people from all walks of life to voluntarily observe the shutdown.
Rayala-Telangana envisages adding Anantapur and Kurnool districts to the proposed state of Telangana. The idea was suggested by some Congress leaders as a way to address problems like water sharing that are involved in the division of Andhra Pradesh.
Media reports said the Centre was seriously considering the proposal. The ruling Congress leaders from Telangana and opposition parties like BJP had opposed Rayala-Telangana.
Some of the Telagana Congress leaders have, however, found fault with the bandh call on Thursday saying the Rayala Telangana proposal is only found in media reports.
A report from Karimnagar, where the separate Telangana agitation is strong, said the bandh was total and peaceful in the district. Commercial establishments, educational institutions and banks remained shut and no untoward incidents were reported.
The Union Cabinet is likely to discuss the report on Telangana and the draft bill to create the new state as the GoM completed its work last night and is believed to have recommended merger of two districts of Rayalseema with the proposed state.
In Warangal district too, the bandh was total and peaceful. About 950 RTC buses remained off the roads in nine depots in the district. Shops and other commercial establishments and educational institutions were closed.
Banks, post offices, LIC and other Central government offices did not function. The state government employees held protests in their offices and organized rallies and road blockades. TRS MLAs and other party leaders protested in front of the bus depots.
Journalists also joined the protests in the district. Workers of the coal mines boycotted work which affected production of coal. The Kakatiya University postponed the exams scheduled to be held on Thursday.
Police made elaborate arrangements to maintain law and order. In Medak, more than 150 activists of TRS, BJP, CPI and TJAC were taken into custody in Sangareddy, Siddipet, Gajwel, Dubbak, Ramayampet, Toopran, Medak, Patancheru, Narayankhed and other mandals of the district as a preventive measure and later released.
Rallies, dharnas and road blockades were organised and effigies of UPA Government were burnt across the district. In view of the bandh, bus services were affected. Also, petrol pumps, cinema theaters, shops, commercial establishments, schools and colleges remained completely closed.