Hyderabad, March 11 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Friday said the violence during the Telangana ‘million march’ in Hyderabad a day earlier was pre-planned, and admitted police lapses in dealing with the situation.
Kiran Kumar Reddy told the state assembly that the government would re-install statues of prominent Telugu personalities on Tank Bund destroyed during the march.
Replying to a debate on the issue, he said the organisers (Telangana Joint Action Committee) could not escape the responsibility for the incidents that took place during the march and hence cases would also be booked against them.
He assured the house that stern action would be taken against those who damaged the statues. He said 60 people have been arrested in this connection.
“I am also pained over the damage caused to statues of our great leaders. The incident has hurt the pride of Telugus,” Reddy said.
He also condemned the attacks on two MPs and mediapersons during the march.
The chief minister said no permission for the march was given because the government had prior information that some people were planning to create disturbances.
He said the organisers and even the legislators from Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had met him and assured him that the march would be peaceful.
Admitting lapses on the part of police, he said since the march was organised by several organisations, it was not easy to handle the situation.
Speaking in the absence of almost all legislators from Telangana region, Reddy said the government succeeded in containing the violence by preventing a huge gathering through preventive arrests and cancellations of trains and buses.
“About 10,000 people had gathered but I am not saying that all of them are involved in the incidents,” he said.
The chief minister reiterated that his government would abide by the central government decision on the demand for separate Telangana state. “Till then, I appeal to all to exercise restrain and not to take up any agitation,” he said.
Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu blamed the government for the incidents, saying it failed to protect the statues.
Earlier, the issue rocked the house with the opposition demanding the Congress government’s resignation for its failure to protect them.
The house was adjourned twice as TDP legislators from the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions stalled the proceedings, insisting on a debate on Thursday’s incidents.
TDP members, who earlier visited Tank Bund to see the damaged statues, were on their feet as soon as the house met for the day. They rushed towards the speaker’s podium after Deputy Speaker Nadendla Manohar disallowed their adjournment motion.
The deputy speaker agreed with members that the destruction of statues was an insult to the Telugus but advised them to condemn the incident with one voice instead of stalling proceedings.