Hyderabad: Tank Bund along the Hussain Sagar Lake in the heart of Hyderabad was turned into a fortress and normally busy roads wore a deserted look on Saturday as police imposed restrictions to foil the proposed ‘Million March Spirit’ programme of Telangana Joint Action Committee.
Hundreds of workers and a large number of leaders, including the TJAC convener Prof. Kodandaram, were taken into custody as the traffic was diverted to other routes.
TJAC along with the left parties and other mass organisations had called for the meeting on the 7th anniversary of the ‘Million March’ of 2011, organised as part of the struggle for separate Telangana state at the same place.
While Kodandaram alleged that the K Chandrasekhar Rao government had resorted to oppressive measures to curb the democratic rights of the people, Hyderabad city police commissioner V V Srinvas Rao said, “Permission was not granted for any meeting on Tank Bund today. As some persons still gave a call to the people to gather at Tank Bund, police had to impose the restrictions to maintain law and order.”
He said that the restrictions would remain in force from 11am till 5pm.
“The present government is worse than the government of united Andhra Pradesh,” said Kodandaram, condemning the police crackdown. He and other TJAC leaders had announced that despite the denial of permission by the police they will go ahead with their programme.
Referring to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s announcement that he would protest in Delhi for the state, Kodandaram in a statement asked, “As the CM, when he can fight in Delhi why can’t a common man fight for their rights here in the state?”
“The state government should realise that they cannot repress the aspirations of Telangana people through arrests and illegal detentions,” he said.
While Kodandaram was arrested near his residence as soon as he left for the meeting, CPI state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy was taken into custody at Makhdoom Bhavan. Another leader, former MLC Dilip Kumar, was also taken into custody when he was on his way to the venue of the protest.
Apart from barricading the Tank Bund on both the sides, there was a massive deployment of forces all around the city. Five different parks in the vicinity of Tank Bund, including the NTR Park, Lumbini and Sanjeevaiah Park were also closed today.
The police had also set up check posts at different places in and around Hyderabad to stop people from reaching the place of the meeting. Hundreds of activists were taken into custody in different districts.
Kodandaram, who as a convener of TJAC was a lieutenant of Telangana Rashtra Samiti President K Chandrasekhar Rao during the struggle for separate state till 2014, fell out with him after TRS came to power as he felt ignored and marginalised. Later, he took up the causes of farmers and unemployed youth and launched several agitations. Recently he announced his plans to launch a political party of his own to expose the failures of the TRS.