Fight for Hyd intensifies
The ‘Save Andhra Meet’ was fraught with complications on Saturday, LB stadium was the hot bed of...
The ‘Save Andhra Meet’ was fraught with complications on Saturday, LB stadium was the hot bed of activity and the entire city was on vigil. People were afraid to venture out of their homes lest they get caught in the regional tension. Violence erupted at OU with students pelting stones and police shelling out tear gas. At Nizam College hostel, the situation worsened steadily by the moment as 15 students had climbed onto the rooftops threatening to commit suicide. If that was not enough, three OU JAC members gate crashed into the stadium chanting slogans which broke the calm of the people and the situation was soon complete pandemonium
Time line of events at various places
Secunderabad Station: On the occasion of the APNGO’s meet for the ‘Save Andhra Meet’, there were many government employees who travelled to the city using the train services as word was out that there would disruptions via highways. Security was tightened both inside and outside Secunderabad Railway Station from 5am onwards on Saturday. There were four trains (namely, Godhavari, Vishakha, Garib Rath and Gouthami expresses) that were prying into the city carrying the APNGO employees.
The Railway Police, AP police and BSF (Border Security Force) were on strict vigil. The RPF had scattered a few of their personnel in mufti on platforms 1,2,3,6 and 7 as this is where the trains were meant to halt. The police made sure that there were no hassles with the passengers. D Vasantha Rao, RPF said that, “We are on high alert until these trains leave, only after they leave will we retract our forces in mufti and those on duties.”
The motive of the police outside Secunderabad Station was to make sure there was no stagnation of traffic as that could lead to a serious issue. The BSF cordoned off the exterior of the railway station and did not leave the traffic to a moment’s chance. Ticket counters were barricaded to ensure there was no insurgency in the station. The shopkeepers and stall owners inside the station pledge that there was no isolated incident with regard to the APNGO employees on the platform.
De-rail attempt: All the four trains that were plying the APNGO employees, underwent a delay of one hour at Warangal. According to Satyanarayana, government school teacher, Gandepudi, “There were no incidents that took place interim the journey. We are here to listen to our leaders at the meet. All the people who left our place via train and those who left via bus have all reached Hyderabad safely.”
He alleges that trains were delayed by an hour because in Warangal, the track had been tampered with. Crucial nuts and bolts had been unscrewed. Fortunately, a railway engineer was present on board who assisted in getting the train back onto track. The police also said that there have been no extra arrangements for transport for the APNGO employees from the railway station to L B Stadium.
All the people who travelled from place like Anantapur, Visakhapatnam and other such places have said that there was no trouble whilst they were on the train. They also said that they expected the same atmosphere to persist during the course of the meeting.
Osmania University: At 8am in the morning, the police, RAF and BSF seemed ready for action. The police were all geared up with all the riot control methods in place. At Tarnaka crossroads, there was one RAF Vajra van kept battle-ready, in-case of any untoward incident. At the end of Osmania University, NCC Gate there were two Vajra Vans and a firetruck kept on stand-by. Present at NCC gate was a battalion of constables both men and women.
However, at the Arts College premises there were a few OU-JAC and TS-JAC student leaders who raised their voice against the meet. One of the leaders Punna Kylash Netha, State President, TS-JAC, said, “We have been protesting for a separate state for the past four years, we were never shown such a gesture by the government. The only thing we were served were police cases. Why is the government biased towards them? We will do our best to stop the meeting. We have already planted a few of our supporters around L B Stadium. We will also take out bike rallies to show our angst.”
AS Rao Nagar: In A S Rao Nagar, members of TRS held a ‘Raasta Rokko’ followed by a bike rally. Many food chains like KFC which dared to run even after declaration of the bandh were later shut down by the activists and members.
Uppal: Things were running smooth until 8am on the morning but two incidents which occurred later on marred the peace of the area. One incident occurred wherein a group of lawyers from Seemandhra were blocked by Telangana Lawyers JAC. In another alleged incident, stones were pelted against a vehicle plying APNGO members from Visakhapatnam. Reportedly, a person was injured.
Nizam Hostel: The premises were cordoned off and it was also manned by police. Tensions rose when about 15 students climbed onto the roof of the building and threatened to commit suicide, if the scheduled meeting wasn’t called off. Police intervened and stopped those from the attempt. There was a heated conversation between police and students. Police arrested a few students at the hostel and cordoned off the place.
LB Stadium: APNGOs came in as early as 5am. In light of ‘Railroko’ and ‘Rastaroko’, APNGOs from Rayalaseema areas came by their own vehicles. Most members came in groups by specially hired buses. The place reverberated with slogans of ‘Jai Samiakyandhra’ and everyone was abuzz.
The centre of attraction was Abbas, a conductor from Vijayawada, who in an innovative protest wore a torn shirt listing all the problems that people faced when in a divided state. Police made sure that no political leader entered the premises and stopped Jammalamadugu MLA Adinarayana Reddy from gaining entry into the venue.
Though many NGOs often repeated that their idea was to conduct a peaceful meeting, an event occurred to dash their hopes; three OUJAC students arrived at the entrance carrying black flags and raised ‘Jai Telangana’ slogans. Tensions rose high and what initially was a heated exchange soon turned into a brawl.
Balaraj Goud and two others were thrashed and beaten up by few members of the NGO. They only managed to escape after the intervention of a traffic cop and few media personnel. Balaraj Goud who was semi-unconscious was taken to hospital by the police.