Hyderabad: As many as 80 pro-Telangana activists, including four MLAs from the region, were among scores of others who were taken into preventive custody on Tuesday as they tried to hold protests against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to the city.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLA Harish Rao and two other party legislators, along with `Telangana Nagara Samithi` leader and independent MLA Nagam Janardhan Reddy, T-JAC Chairman M Kodandaram were among 26 others who were taken into custody at Indira Park after they tried to proceed towards Begumpet airport from where Singh was scheduled to depart to Delhi after participating in the biodiversity conference here, a senior police officer said.
Earlier, leaders of various political parties including TRS, BJP, CPI, Telangana Congress, besides workers of organisations like Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC), Telangana Nagara Samithi held a day-long sit-in agitation wearing black badges at Indira Park over the statehood demand.
Police foiled the attempts of the protesters who after holding the dharna tried to march towards the airport alleging that some journalists from Telangana region were not allowed to cover the 11th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The TRS MLAs among others were later released by police. Earlier, nearly 15 lawyers belonging to Telangana Advocates JAC were picked up by Nampally Police after they burnt effigy of the prime minister in front of Gandhi Bhavan. The lawyers claimed they had written several letters to Singh over the statehood demand, but there was no declaration on according separate statehood for Telangana.
Telangana Advocates JAC leader Sriranga Rao said close to 40 Telangana journalists representing different news channels and papers were also detained by police and claimed that these mediamen "were not allowed" to cover the conference addressed by the Prime Minister.
Earlier, some pro-Telangana activists were detained after they tried to release black balloons in the air near People`s Plaza on Necklace Road. Similarly, another group of pro-Telangana students also took out a rally near Arts College in the Osmania University campus carrying black balloons.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed the 11th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) this afternoon and left for Delhi in the evening.