The struggle for a Telangana State returned to the political centre stage on Friday when Hyderabad was brought to its knees after activists clashed with police in their attempt to organise a “Chalo Assembly’ rally.
Life in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, barring the Old City and the technology hub around HI-TEC City, was hit. Police barricaded every thoroughfare and forced shopkeepers, business establishments and banks to shut down. Even APSRTC buses and local trains were withdrawn.
Curfew-like conditions prevailed in the area around the Assembly as police restricted movement of vehicles and pedestrians. Yet, a 30,000-strong force could not totally prevent Telangana activists from sneaking into prime locations and making a vain bid to rush towards the Assembly.
Amid fear of violence by Naxalites, police sounded a high alert across the State and almost sealed all the arterial roads leading to the Assembly. The Assembly could not transact any business due to frequent protests by the TRS and other Opposition parties, forcing Speaker Nadendla Manohar to adjourn the House till Monday.
The Assembly turned into a fortress with unprecedented heavy police bandobust and barricading of all approach roads for nearly a four-km stretch on all sides, lending an impression that the government’s actions had only aided the efforts of the Telangana Joint Action Committee, which claimed that the programme was a success. Tension prevailed around Indira Park till noon as activists made a vain bid to assemble there before beginning their march. The police fired a few rounds of teargas shells to quell the groups attempting to break the barricades.