Pro-Telangana rally: Hyderabad tense as students, police clash

     Tension has gripped the city as it braces itself for the massive rally on the Necklace Road to demand separate statehood for Telangana, even as students and police clashed at the Osmania University here on Sunday. Raising pro-Telangana slogans, the students, who wanted to take out a rally, removed barricades and pelted stones at the police personnel. The police retaliated by lobbing tear gas shells at the violent students.

The police said that permission was granted only for the march at the Necklace Road and that they would not allow any other rally. There was also tension at Secunderabad Clock Tower as leaders and activists of CPI-ML New Democracy were prevented by police from taking out a rally. The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and various organisations of students, employees and lawyers also planned to take out rallies from various places in the city to join the main march at the Necklace Road.

A massive pro-Telangana rally, called by the Joint Action Committee of Telangana, is scheduled to take place in Hyderabad this afternoon to press for their demand for the creation of the separate state. High security arrangements are in place in the city to ensure that no untoward incident occurs during the proposed march, which is expected to witness a huge turnout. The government has imposed several restrictions on the rally. Twelve express trains and 25 passenger trains have been cancelled; all cinema theatres and multiplexes in Greater Hyderabad limits will remain closed today. Apprehending trouble, the state police chief had refused permission to the Telangana march on the Tank Bund. But with political pressure from all parties, including Congress leaders from Telangana, the state government has, as a compromise, decided to allow the rally from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the on Necklace Road on the edge of Husain Sagar Lake.

The year 2011 saw widespread protests for a separate Telangana state that put pressure on the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre to expedite the bifurcation of the state, carving out the Telangana region with Andhra Pradesh's current capital Hyderabad as its main city. The central government has postponed the decision to carve a new state, causing immense unrest in the region and has taken hundreds of innocent lives.

The Telangana region, which merged with Andhra Pradesh in 1956 against the wishes of many locals, comprises of 10 districts - Adilabad, Hyderabad , Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Warangal . As the movement to divide the state gained momentum, politicians from coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema regions want the state of 85 million people to remain unified, and especially oppose tearing out the Hyderabad that would affect the state's economy.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had earlier asked the ruling Congress Party to make its stand clear on the Telangana issue, and said that it believes that two Telugu-speaking states-Telangana and Andhra-can coexist peacefully and progress rapidly. "Congress has to spell out what is their stand. We have made our stand very clear. We are pro-Telangana. We want separate Telangana to be established because we believe that two Telugu speaking state of Telangana and Andhra will coexist peacefully and progress rapidly," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar had said.

He further said that by not taking a final decision on the issue, the Congress is betraying the sentiments of people who have fought for a separate Telangana state for decades. Congress President Sonia Gandhi had held a meeting and discussed the issue of Telangana with senior party leaders amid growing demands for an early decision on the matter. Though the issue of Telangana was discussed, there was no decision.

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