Tension prevailed in parts of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad on Wednesday as police arrested scores of students and their leaders to foil a rally of unemployed youths.
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from Osmania University, Nizam College, Secunderabad PG College and some other educational institutions as students staged protests to condemn the arrest of Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) convenor M Kodandaram and other leaders and activists across Telangana.
Demanding their release, the students took out rallies, shouting anti-government slogans. A student tried to immolate himself near Osmania University Arts College, who was later detained.
In an early morning crackdown against the TJAC, the state police has arrested its chief along with several other members of his outfit.
— AK journalist (@agasthyakantu) February 22, 2017
Protests broke out in different places in the state as police stopped and arrested students and youth heading to Hyderabad for the rally.
The Osmania University Joint Action Committee has called for a shutdown of educational institutions in the state on Thursday.
Police sealed all routes leading to Indra Park to prevent any gathering. Security was tightened on the roads around Sundaraiah Vignana Kendram.
Tension prevailed at Osmania University campus as police stopped students from taking out a rally. The protestors stoned police and the latter used force to disperse them. Some arrests were made.
A sub-inspector of police was injured when students pelted stones at Nizam College in the heart of the city.
Leaders of the Congress, Left parties and Aam Aadmi Party and activists of student groups affiliated to the opposition parties were among those arrested at more than a dozen places in the city.
Students and leaders of various groups tried to lay siege to Kamatipura police station in Secunderabad, where Kodandaram and his supporters were detained.
The Telangana police had to force their way into the professor's house around 3 am on Wednesday, ahead of the organisation's planned agitation against unemployment in the state. Kodandaram had planned the 'Nirudyoga Nirasana Rally', and a public meeting in Hyderabad later in the day to protest against the state government's "unfulfilled promise" of filling more than a lakh vacancies in several government departments, according to The Times of India.
In June last year, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had announced in the state Assembly that the government would initiate a process to fill up over one lakh government vacancies in the next four to five months, according to The Hindu. In September, he reiterated this promise, stating that vacancies will be filled up within three years, according to The Economic Times.
It was this statement made by Rao that the TJAC has been agitating against, alleging that the government has failed to act on its promises.
The TJAC's Wednesday rally against unemployment had been under a cloud of doubt ever since it was announced. Earlier, the police had rejected permission for the protest and the public meeting at for Dharna Chowk near Indira Park, suggesting that the rally be held on Sunday, in view of the Mahashivratri celebrations that precedes the decided date of protest. However, Kodandaram had pledged to go ahead with both the events on Wednesday only, giving rise to the crackdown, according to another report in The Times of India.
Kodandaram had been a long time ally and political mentor of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and the two leaders stood shoulder to shoulder to ensure the creation of a separate Telangana, with the TJAC spearheading the political movement to demand the division of the states. The incident is one of many instances that brought to the fore, the clear rift that has surfaced between the two leaders of late.
The The Times of India report also states that hundreds of TJAC supporters were rounded up across the state to prevent them from reaching the state capital and holding flash protests.
Besides, apart form the police crackdown, politicking had also ensued on the issue with the ruling dispensation and Kodandaram trading barbs.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, the state's IT minister KT Rama Rao had hit out at Kodandaram ahead of the planned protest stating that some "politically unemployed" people were trying to disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the Telangana by provoking the unemployed youth and college students against the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
In a response to Kodandaram, he had alleged slander against his planned "peaceful protest", which he said is a citizen's democratic right. He said that the government was planning to baton charge and open fire on the peaceful protesters at the Nirudyoga Nirasana Rally to provoke the crowd to resort to violence and tarnish the movement's image.
Updated Date: Feb 22, 2017 14:42 PM