The police on Wednesday cracked down on activists agitating in favour of statehood for Telangana, taking 2,200 of them into custody.
IGP A.R. Anuradha said the arrests, in university campuses and other places, became necessary because the activists either violated the prohibitory orders or resorted to violence.
Telangana corresponds to the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad.
She said that 169 activists were taken into custody in Hyderabad.
This happened a day before the activists were supposed to march to the Andhra Pradesh assembly to express solidarity with the fasting Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao and demand that a bill be passed to create a separate state.
On Wednesday, TRS leaders visited Rao at the hospital and asked him to call off his fast.
Wednesday’s arrests followed after intelligence reports said that anti-social elements and Maoists had infiltrated the students’ organisations and were using the agitation to discredit the state government.
Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, before leaving for Delhi, told the media that anti-social students had infiltrated the agitation and were trying to foment trouble.
The Joint Action Committee of Students, spearheading the agitation in campuses, however, has declared the arrests would not deter the students from marching to the assembly.
The government has tightened security in Hyderabad and Telangana in anticipation of trouble on Thursday.
A large contingent of the RAF and CRPF has been deployed in vulnerable spots.
The fast by Rao entered the 11th day on Wednesday. The TRS politburo has decided to request Rao to give up his fast.
In another development, 11 of the 14 Congress MLAs in Hyderabad passed a resolution that Hyderabad should become a union territory like Chandigarh in case the Telangana statehood demand was acceded to.
“Hyderabad has many more people from other regions. Since they fear for safety in Telangana, we want it be made a union territory, “ said D. Nagender, state health minister.