Hyderabad, Feb 21 (IANS) A group of pro-Telangana students Monday tried to barge into Andhra Pradesh assembly complex despite massive security cover while violent protests rocked the state capital through the day. Violence continued around the Osmania University campus.
Police arrested about 100 students from Osmania and other universities in Telangana as they tried to enter the assembly complex. Police baton-charged students, among them girls, to prevent them from entering the building.
However, the assembly was not in the session as it had adjourned earlier in the day without transacting any business amid pandemonium over Telangana issue.
The incident took place despite massive security clamp-down by police and paramilitary forces around the assembly complex to foil the students’ march. They have demanded immediate steps for formation of a separate Telangana state.
Breaking the security cordon, a group of six students managed to reach the main gate of the assembly complex and raised slogans of “Jai Telangana”. Even as police arrested them, another group entered the assembly premises through the adjoining public gardens.
The students squatted on the road leading to the legislative council and raised slogans. Police baton charged and arrested them.
Violent protests by students at Osmania University, 10 km from the assembly, continued through the day. Hundreds of students were still on the campus, raising slogans against the government and police. Security personnel had to repeatedly use batons and burst teargas shells at three points to push back the students and to prevent them from taking out the march.
More incidents of violence rocked the city Monday evening as some protesters torched a bus of the state-owned Road Transport Corporation and damaged eight other vehicles at Habsiguda near the university. They also pelted stones on some shops in the area.
Earlier, pro-Telangana students went berserk, setting afire a local train, ransacking a railway station and clashing with police in several areas.
The protesters set afire a Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) train coach at the Jamia Osmania railway station near the varsity campus.
Another group of protesters ransacked the Necklace Road MMTS railway station near Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the state governor. They set ablaze the reservation counter, destroyed computers and broke window panes.
The incident triggered tension in the high security areas around Raj Bhavan, and police forced the closure of the shops to prevent a march by pro-Telangana lawyers, who wanted to submit a memorandum to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan.
There was more trouble as a group of protesters on board a local train tried to stop it forcibly near Raj Bhavan. Police sealed the road leading towards the governor’s residence, causing huge traffic jam in the busy Khairatabad and surrounding areas.
Violence also rocked the Nizam College area near the assembly building as students pelted stones, clashed with police and damaged several vehicles. Tension prevailed as police pushed back the students inside the college campus and the hostel buildings.
A few policemen were reportedly injured in the stone-pelting near the college.
Pro-Telangana leader and Maoist sympathiser Gaddar was arrested at Tank Bund when he tried to march towards the assembly.
The usually busy roads around the assembly complex in the heart of the city wore a deserted look as police and paramilitary forces sealed these against the students’ march.
A curfew-like situation prevailed in Basheerbagh, Lakdi Ka Pul, Saifabad, Nampally and surrounding areas as police diverted traffic and were not allowing even pedestrians to move around. The alternate routes were choked with huge traffic jams.
However, a group of girl students managed to sneak through the security cordon and reached the police control room near the assembly building. Raising slogans of “Jai Telangana”, the girls tried to move towards the assembly premises but were prevented by police.
About 40 students were arrested and shifted to waiting police vehicles.