M A I N   N E W S

Rail roko, clashes & arrests: Telangana on the boil again
136 trains cancelled; Cong MPs join protesters, court arrest
Suresh Dharur/TNS

Hyderabad, October 15
An already volatile Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh was on the boil today with train services being thrown out of gear during the violence-marred rail blockade.

Hundreds of pro-Telangana activists and political leaders, cutting across party lines, stormed railway stations as the three-day ‘rail roko’ programme, demanding a separate Telangana state, began across the region. The protesters clashed with police at several places while dozens of MPs, legislators and other leaders were arrested.

In a major embarrassment to the UPA government, Congress MPs from Telangana region also participated in the stir and courted arrest at several places. Already, Telangana region is reeling under the severe impact of the indefinite general strike by government employees and workers of the region. The second round of talks between the striking employees and the government ended in a deadlock.

Leaders of the employees’ joint action committee vowed to continue the strike, which entered 32nd day today, till the Centre announced a clear roadmap for formation of a separate state.

The South Central Railway (SCR) has cancelled as many as 136 trains but operated 20 express and passenger trains as scheduled in an attempt to assess the situation. The clashes between police and protesters at some places triggered tension while the state and Central forces were mobilised in large numbers to protect the railway property.

Congress MPs P Prabhakar, Rajaiah, G. Vivek, M Jagannatham, TRS MP Vijayshanti, TRS legislators K Tarka Rama Rao and T Harish Rao were among the leaders arrested by the police amid high drama.

The leaders and activists were either taken into preventive arrests, kept under house arrest or arrested when they were going towards the tracks. The stringent provisions under the Railways Act of 1989 were being invoked against those arrested.

After a considerable lull, the Osmania University campus here, the epicentre of the Telangana movement, witnessed clashes between the students and the police. Responding to the ‘rail roko’ call, some pro-Telangana students came out of the campus but were stopped in their tracks by the police. The clashes broke out after a heated argument between the policemen and the student leaders.

The protesters then hurled stones at the police, leading to tension in the area. The police lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the agitators.

Senior officials of the Railways and the state police made an aerial survey of the region to review the situation in view of the protests on the tracks. At several places, the agitators squatted on railway tracks and staged demonstrations, shouting pro-Telangana slogans. Hyderabad Police Commissioner AK Khan said 49 persons were arrested and booked under the Railway Act and the IPC. 





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