Tension at Telangana student's funeral procession



Hyderabad: The suicide of a student for separate statehood to Telangana has brought the issue back into focus with a shutdown being observed on Sunday in Warangal district amid tension and some groups calling for a two-day protest.

Tension prevailed in Warangal town on Sunday during the funeral procession of MBA student Bhojya Naik, who immolated himself on Saturday to protest the delay in carving out Telangana state.

Hundreds attended the funeral procession during which the protesters attacked the houses of Congress leaders and an office of the party. They also stoned the statue of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Students attacked the houses of Information Technology Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader E Dayakar Rao and government chief whip G Venkatramna Reddy. Three people were injured in the stone pelting. Police baton charged the protesters.

Earlier, the protesters also attacked Dayakar Rao's brother Pradeep Rao when he visited the house of Bhojya Naik to console his parents.

Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) chairman M Kodandaram, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislators and others participated in the funeral procession.

A shutdown is being observed in Warangal district on a call given by pro-Telangana groups.

JAC, comprising TRS and other groups, has called for burning the effigies of Congress party and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in all 10 districts of the region on Monday. It also urged people to hold candle light rallies on Tuesday.

JAC leaders said the suicide should be an eye-opener to all MPs from the region and they should pressurise the central government to table a bill during the current session of Parliament for formation of Telangana state.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has condoled the death of Bhojya Naik and conveyed his sympathies to his family members. The chief minister said suicides were not a solution to the problems and hoped that the central government would take an appropriate decision on the issue. He advised the students not to become emotional and take their lives.

Congress MPs from Telangana, Rajaiah and Balram Naik, alleged that leaders from Andhra and Rayalaseema were responsible for suicides.

Telangana groups claim that over 600 people, mostly students, have committed suicide for the cause of Telangana during the last two years.

The latest incident came close on the heels of by-elections to six Assembly seats in the region.

Proving that the Telangana sentiment is still strong, all five legislators who had resigned on Telangana issue were re-elected. TRS bagged four seats while one independent was re-elected.

The sixth seat was won by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Congress and TDP drew blank.

IANS