Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: A week after they ‘occupied’ lands belonging to the Ramoji Film City and the Sanghi Group, activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Sunday targeted the Ministers’ Colony, a high security area, protesting against the Government’s ‘indifferent attitude’ in providing houses to the poor.

Tension prevailed in the area for some time as the activists, a majority of them women, broke barbed wire fences put up by the police at more than one place in their attempt to move ahead. Police were apparently caught unawares as the number of protestors was much above their expectations.

They had a tough time controlling the agitators who tried to force their way into the colony.The protestors demanded a comprehensive policy for providing house sites to the eligible poor. They wanted withdrawal of GO 658 which was against the interests of the poor, in that possession of white ration cards had been made mandatory for selection of beneficiaries under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

A few hundred activists started their protest peacefully. But trouble arose when some of them joined and broke the barricades. With a large contingent of women leading from the front, police were thrown into a state of confusion unable to differentiate between the party activists and common public. High drama was witnessed as activists, led by CPI (M) city secretary P.S.N. Murthy, made an unsuccessful bid to enter the colony and stage a dharna in front of the houses of Revenue Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao and Hyderabad in-charge Minister Mohd. Ali Shabbir.

He told reporters that the Government move to appoint non-official members in the committees for selection of beneficiaries was aimed at benefiting Congress workers. A few activists as well as a couple of police officials suffered minor bruises in the melee. Police observed restraint in not using lathis or other means to quell the agitators. Traffic was thrown haywire as the protest continued forcing the police to lift the protestors to Banjara Hills police station.