Special Correspondent

Violence followed by police firing at Mahbubabad; call for Telangana bandh today

HYDERABAD: Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy could defy his party's high command, but failed to launch his controversial tour of Warangal district on Friday as violence broke out between Telangana supporters and Congress workers at Mahbubabad culminating in police firing.

Mr. Jagan was taken into preventive custody by police at Wangapally railway station aboard the Secunderabad-Guntur Inter City Express by which he was travelling to Mahbubabad and escorted back in a bulletproof vehicle to his residence in Banjara Hills here.

The young MP, however, remained adamant and vowed to undertake the ‘yatra' after the byelections in Telangana even as the Congress high command decided to initiate disciplinary action by serving him a show cause notice.

His detention followed pitched battles between supporters of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and his own followers in the Mahbubabad railway station, lying on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada railway route.

The violence left 24 persons injured, including one protester who is in a critical condition with bullet injuries in the MGM Hospital, Warangal. Eight policemen and seven others were badly hurt in stone pelting. Director General of Police R.R. Girish Kumar said nine Telangana activists sustained bullet injuries when the official gunmen of Congress MLA Konda Surekha, her husband and MLC, Konda Murali, and local MLA M. Kavita opened several rounds of fire. They were trapped inside the waiting room on the railway platform as the activists rained the ballast readily available on the track.

The door of the waiting room broke under the impact of the stoning and a missile landed on Ms. Kavita. The DGP said the personal security officers of the three legislators opened fire when they sensed danger to the lives of their protectees. An inquiry would be conducted whether the firing was justified.

Elsewhere in the State, Congress supporters burnt two bogies of Padmavathi Express at Tirupati and a bandh was observed in Kadapa. Rasta rokos were organised at Anantapur, Dharmavaram, Palamner, Nalgonda, Suryapet in favour of or against the Congress MP's tour. Several trains were delayed due to the trouble at Mahbubabad and the detention of Inter City Express at Wangapally for over three hours.

The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) has called for a Telangana bandh on Saturday to protest against the police firing, while Jagan's supporters announced a bandh in his native Kadapa district.

TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao demanded a judicial inquiry into the firing alleging that Mr. Konda Murali was responsible for inciting violence. The MLC had himself fired with his pistol and not the gunman as claimed by the DGP.

Surekha hospitalised

Ms. Konda Surekha later tried to consume sleeping pills, but her attempt was foiled and she was rushed to a hospital in Khammam, 50 km away. An MLC, Pulla Padmavathi, was also taken to the same hospital after she complained of chest pain.

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