The situation in the State capital turned volatile after a pro-Telangana activist immolated himself in full public view near the Osmania University campus after police foiled the attempts of agitating students to march to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Saturday morning.
The self-immolation bid sparked confrontations between the students and the police at several places throughout the day. See-saw battles and stone-pelting continued till late in the evening on the University campus – the nerve centre of the pro-Telangana stir.
In critical condition
The grievously burnt youngster, identified as Siripuram Yadagiri (19) of Maheshwaram mandal in Rangareddy district, was rushed to the Apollo Hospital near DRDL. His condition was stated to be critical.
Incensed students engaged the police in pitched battles as they spilled out onto the Tarnaka-Habsiguda road by evening. They ignored tear gas shells and even stun grenades while hurling stones on police forces at Ground ‘A’ behind the RTC hospital near Tarnaka. Several policemen were injured in the stone-pelting.
Authorities had deployed 30,000 policemen for security arrangements in view of the students’ call to lay siege to the Assembly and virtually took control of central Hyderabad. The innumerable road blockades set up by the police and restrictions on the movement of people led to a curfew-like situation.
The students, who tried to take out a procession, jostled with policemen who formed several layers of human chain to prevent them from proceeding ahead. The situation appeared to be normal as the Assembly adjourned around 1 p.m. and agitators returned to the campus.
However, taking everyone by surprise, Yadagiri who was watching the police-student confrontation, doused himself with kerosene or petrol, set fire to himself and ran towards the policemen around 1.40 p.m.
As shocked policemen rushed towards him, Yadagiri, who was engulfed in flames, ran for about 50 metres. Policemen used their bamboo body vests to put out the flames.
The immolation bid inflamed the campus and thousands of students began fighting pitched battles with the police.
Elsewhere, students attempted to break through police cordons to reach the Assembly at PG Colleges in Secunderabad and Saifabad and at Nizam College hostel in Basheerbagh forcing police to use their canes repeatedly.
In the Assembly, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah presented a Rs. 1.13 lakh crore annual budget for 2010-11, a marginal increase over last year’s outlay.
The budget was tax-free since the government had raised additional revenue of nearly Rs. 6,000 crore through pre-budget imposts.
Referring to the turbulence in the State, the Chief Minister said Andhra Pradesh would have registered a higher growth rate but for the disturbances.
He said he had kept in mind the interests of all regions while formulating the budget proposals.