Hyderabad: With barely two days left for the Telangana march, pro-Telangana groups and the Andhra Pradesh government are heading for a confrontation.
After refusing permission for the September 30 march, police have started rounding up pro-Telangana activists in the region. Those arrested on Thursday include a Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislator in Nizamabad district.
Police have also stepped up security in the city and checking of vehicles entering the state capital. Students and other activists were being prevented from entering the city.
As a prelude to Telangana march, students of Osmania University clashed with police.
Trouble broke out on the campus after the students tried to take out a rally on Thursday, demanding a separate state. Police sealed the university gate to prevent the students from coming out. The protesters pelted stones and police retaliated by firing teargas shells.
Police in Nizamabad district arrested TRS legislator Vidyasagar Rao when he was heading for Hyderabad. A senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was also arrested in Khammam.
Students, lawyers and people from other walks of life took out rallies in Warangal, Karimnagar, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy districts in support of the march.
Pro-Telangana activists also disrupted a meeting of Lok Satta president Jaiprakash Narayan at Medchal on the city outskirts for opposing the demand for Telangana state.
Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) has called for Telangana march around Hussain Sagar in the heart of the city to press the demand for separate Telangana state.
The government has refused permission for it in view of Ganesh immersion procession on September 29 and the United Nations biodiversity conference beginning October 01.
A top police official said they apprehend violence during the march and there were also intelligence reports that the protestors could attack properties of people of Seemandhra (Rayalseema and Andhra regions).
Telangana comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad and a large number of people from Seemandhra are settled here.
Over 15,000 policemen would be deployed to maintain law and order in the city. The state has also sought central security forces.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who is visiting Krishna district, on Thursday reiterated his appeal to JAC to postpones the march. However, his cabinet colleagues from Telangana region met in Hyderabad and felt that the government should give permission for the march.
The ministers, including Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy, decided to call on the chief minister after his return to the state capital.
Eight MPs of Congress from Telangana region have already announced their decision to participate in the march.
The TRS, BJP, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist New Democracy, besides Congress and Telugu Desam Party leaders from Telangana, are supporting the march. Even Communist Party of India-Marxist, which is not in favour of bifurcation of the state, has extended its support.
Legislators of TRS, BJP, CPI and leaders of JAC on Thursday called on Governor ESL Narasimhan, the home minister and Director General of Police Dinesh Reddy separately to demand that permission be given for the march. They also lodged their protest over the arrests in Telangana districts.