Train services were disrupted almost completely in the Telangana region and partly in the neighbouring regions as supporters of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC) enforced a ‘rail roko' on Saturday.
On the first day of the three-day agitation for formation of a separate State, train services were paralysed, barring the token operation of eight pairs of passenger trains in the Telangana region and 10 long distance expresses that were escorted by the police to various stations in the Twin Cities.
Later in the day, the South Central Railway (SCR) restored the Hyderabad-Rajkot and Hyderabad-Mumbai Hussainsagar Expresses as the Wadi section was opened. Thirty-five suburban trains were operated in the State capital.
In spite of heavy police presence on the track and deployment of a helicopter to monitor the situation, the agitators squatted on the track at dozens of places, defying prohibitory orders, though the SCR cancelled 127 trains. The Southern Railway had announced diversion of 39 trains passing through Telangana.
There were stray incidents of violence, especially outside the Mahabubabad station where a sub-inspector sustained a head injury in stone-throwing when Congress MP P. Balram Naik and local MLA M. Kavitha were arrested. At least nine MPs, eight of the Congress, were arrested in different places for attempting to obstruct train movement.
Some of the MPs have been booked under the Railway Protection Act, which carries a stiff punishment. TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao and T-JAC chairman M. Kodandaram were also charged with offences under the Act, though they did not directly participate in the agitation. As many as 2,382 people were arrested on Saturday.
TRS MP and actor Vijayashanti was taken into custody at the Lakdi-ka-pul station here, when she made a vain bid to obstruct train movement. Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao's son K.T. Rama Rao and daughter Ms. Kavitha were arrested in the city.
At Osmania University, agitators threw stones, forcing the police to use teargas-shells.