“Occupy Hyderabad until Telangana is formed,” read one of the banners at the entrance to the Buddha Bhavan.
Like last year’s Million March when Telangana activists gained control over the heavily-guarded Tank Bund, the Telangana March ended up in a surge of Telangana wave on the Necklace Road. Reminiscent of the Million March, the Telangana activists clashed with the security forces, made them retreat them from their positions at some places, burnt their vehicles and fought pitched battles with them.
Police, on their part, responded with water cannons, tear gas shells, stun grenades and caning. Since morning Telangana activists kept marched on the Necklace Road carrying banners, placards and flags.
By afternoon, the venue buzzed with frenzy slogans and a lot of activity.
One after the other, leaders of various JACs came marching to the accompaniment of drumbeats and other paraphernalia.
The JACs represented a cross-section of society _ employees, teachers, traders, businessmen, labourers, ordinary people, students, etc and cutting across political, caste and religious barriers.
By 3 pm, when the march was scheduled to start as per police permission, thousands of activists had reached the place.
Police allowed the activists only from the Buddha Bhavan side and virtually sealed the other routes. The road from Necklace Rotary was virtually sealed.
After fighting a pitched battle with the police on the Osmania University campus, hundreds of OU and Kakatiya University students managed to reach the place.
The place witnessed two kinds of activists. While cultural troupes and leaders engaged the activists with their speeches, songs and ballads, students and other activists engaged the security forces in a different kind of game.
The activists tried to break the cordon but police retaliated with tear gas shells and quelled the mob with the help of water cannons.
By evening, various party leaders including TRS MLA K Taraka Rama Rao, along with thousands of supporters, managed to sneak onto the Necklace Road from the other side but were prevented by the police.
Coming under attack from both sides, the police retraced from the place, ceding the Necklace Road to the control of the protesters who marched on till Jal Vihar.
The mob set afire three police vehicles, a couple of media outdoor broadcasting vans, machinery and a temporary cabin room of a construction company.
Unconfirmed reports said they even attacked the Necklace Road railway station, damaging some furniture there.
After the sunset, police went on the offensive and used water cannons, tear gas and canes to disperse the agitators who continued squatting there despite the expiry of the 7 pm deadline to leave.
The heavy rainfall, instead of driving them in disarray, enthused them and made them dance to the tunes of Arunodaya Vimalakka’s songs.
Police estimates that lakhs of activists reached the place by 4 pm. Many of them, however, left the place after violence broke out on the other side of the venue. [Indian Express]