Opposition forces police officials' suspension

Special Correspondent

Osmania University incident rocks Andhra Pradesh Assembly

HYDERABAD: Opposition parties forced the Andhra Pradesh Government on Thursday to suspend the Inspector and Sub-Inspector of Osmania University police station here for their high-handedness towards a group of Telangana activists on the campus on Wednesday.

The incident rocked the Assembly, which was adjourned 90 minutes ahead of schedule as placard-waving members of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) stalled proceedings from the start demanding suspension of the police officers. The Government's response came amid high drama and much after it received all-round flak for dragging its feet.

Just when the issue threatened to snowball into a regional confrontation as Inspector Chandrasekhar hailed from Andhra, Home Minister K. Jana Reddy hurriedly convened a news conference in the lobbies to announce his suspension and also that of Sub-Inspector Ratnam, pending an inquiry.

Mr. Reddy attributed the delay to the Government's intention to verify facts from the police, persons affected and eyewitnesses. He said the Government had sought an hour's time to make a statement but the Opposition was in a great hurry and forced the adjournment. Preliminary information pointed to regional sentiments being hurt by the action of the police.

House adjourned twice

Earlier, the Assembly was adjourned twice for long spells. Slogan-shouting TRS members staged a dharna before the chambers of the Home Minister while TDP MLAs met Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy separately to demand action against the police officials. The Home Minister held parleys with university vice-chancellor Suleman Siddiqui and top police officials besides viewing video clippings of the incident before announcing the suspension.

Inside the House, Leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu and floor leaders of all other parties sharply criticised the Government for delay in initiating action against the police officers in spite of prima facie evidence. Even Congress MLAs joined the chorus outside the House.

The TRS members proceeded to the university after the adjournment of the House to participate in a procession from the Arts College. It culminated in a rasta roko at Tarnaka junction.