Tension gripped Hyderabad as violent clashes broke out between pro-Telangana supporters and the police in several parts of the city when the activists defied prohibitory orders and joined the 'Telangana march' in a massive show of solidarity for a separate state.
Police fire tear gas at members of the Telangana Students Joint Action Committe (TSJAC) as they prevent the students from marching during a protest rally held to demand the separate state of Telangana at the Osmania University in Hyderabad. AFP PHOTO / Noah SEELAM
Violating prohibitory orders, the Telangana supporters headed towards the Necklace Road at Hussain Sagar lake, the venue of the event, and clashed with security personnel on their way.
Incidents of violence were reported from the Osmania University campus, Khairatabad and the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat.
When they were stopped from passing by the Secretariat road and some other areas where prohibitory orders were in place, the protesters 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) S A Huda said.
"We have been monitoring the situation. It is tense but under control," he said.
The protesters torched two police vehicles at People's Plaza on the Necklace Road, police said.
Violence erupted on the Osmania University campus here after pro-Telangana students clashed with police when they were prevented from taking out a rally to join the 'Telangana March'.
Police used water cannons and lobbed teargas shells on pro-Telangana supporters near the venue as some of them allegedly tried to defy the orders and proceeded towards the Secretariat.
Police clash with members of the Telangana Students Joint Action Committe as they prevent students from marching during a protest rally held to demand the separate Telangana state at the Osmania University. AFP
Permission was granted to organise the 'Telangana March' from 3 PM to 7 PM at the Necklace Road, after talks were held between the government and the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC).
Roads leading to the Secretariat, Chief Minister's Office and other high security areas were barricaded.
In Osmania University, a large number of slogan-shouting students were seen breaking barricades on the campus. They pelted stones at policemen, who retaliated by firing tear-gas shells. Some students were also taken into preventive custody.
Pro-Telangana activists belonging to various students organisations tried to take out a rally to join the 'Telangana March', but they could not do so as the government had Saturday 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, Congress MPs from Telangana region 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.
Police fire tear gas at members of the Telangana Students Joint Action Committee as they prevent the students from marching during a protest rally held to demand the separate Telangana state at the Osmania University. AFP
The MPs, including Manda Jagannadham, Madhu Yashki Goud, G Vivek, Gutta Sukhender Reddy, Rajaiah, and former MP K Keshav Rao, wanted to meet the Chief Minister at his camp office.
Goud was seen engaged in a heated argument with the police when they tried to stop him from proceeding towards the camp office.
"Party workers from my constituency were coming to Hyderabad for the march but they were stopped and detained. I am getting calls. Other Congress MPs were also getting similar calls. We wanted to meet the chief minister. But we were not allowed. The chief minister did not meet us...so we held the dharna," he said.
Another Telangana leader and state legislator, N Janardhana Reddy warned that if the government tried to foil the march, they would disrupt the UN global biodiversity meet opening in the city Monday.
Revolutionary balladeer Gaddar reached Telangana Martyrs' Memorial at Gun Park and administered a pledge to protestors that they would achieve the goal of separate state.
"The arrests can never stop the movement," he said.
Telugu news channels blocked
All Telugu news channels covering the Telangana march in Hyderabad were on Sunday blocked by police.
With thousands of people flocking to the Necklace Road on the banks of Hussain Sagar lake in the heart of the city amid clashes in surrounding areas, police snapped the transmission of all regional news channels.
The move is apparently aimed at preventing the spread of violence to other parts of the city.
The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) condemned the police action. JAC leaders said police not only arrested hundreds of people coming to Hyderabad from districts but also disconnected electricity supply and cable TV transmission in towns and villages across Telangana.
Over a dozen Telugu news channels were extensively covering the Telangana march and the protests by students of Osmania University since morning.