Congress lawmaker's stunt fans Telangana embers
Hyderabad: The situation in Telangana took a grim turn yesterday, the 15th day of an indefinite strike in support of a separate state, as controversial Congress lawmaker from coastal Andhra Pradesh, L. Rajagopal, tried to take to the streets as a mark of protest against the ongoing agitation.
With Rajagopal proceeding to the office of the Road Transport Authority where a senior officer was manhandled by pro-Telangana activists yesterday, several Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and even Congress leaders from Telangana region rushed to the area to lodge their protest against the incitement.
High drama ensued as the police stopped Telangana leaders including TRS legislative assembly member T. Harish Rao and K Ishwar, the Congress lawmaker Madhu Yashki and legislative assembly member Vishunvardhan from entering the office. Angered by the fact that Rajagopal was allowed to enter the office, the pro-Telangana protesters locked the RTA office from outside. The police used forced to disperse the protesters.
Later the police arrested both Rajagopal and the pro-Telangana leaders.
The drama continued as thousands of Telangana supporters, including lawyers, gathered outside the Jubilee Hills police station shouting slogans against Rajagopal.
Though the police later released Rajagopal he refused to leave the place demanding to know why he was arrested. After couple of hours he left the police station amid tight security. His car, which was towed away by the traffic police was targeted by Telangana agitators.
Rajagopal's act came in for strong condemnation from all Telangana leaders including the Congress MP Madhu Yashki and minister K. Venkat Reddy. They said it had become a habit for Rajagopal to push the line. "He is doing it to save his own business interests in Telangana region," Yashki said.
Meanwhile, the United Andhra Pradesh protection Joint Action Committee has called for a shutdown in Vijaywada today in protest against Rajagopal's arrest.
Temples shut doors
All the temples in the Telangana region were shut down in solidarity with striking employees.
The famous Saraswati temple of Basar in Nizamabad district were among shrines that stopped rituals as a mark of support for the two-week-long indefinite strike in the region.
Heeding the call of the Telangana Archakas Forum, all services at temples were stopped after devotees were allowed morning visits. The one-day strike was announced even as the continuing indefinite strike has already cost the temples millions in income by way of devotees' offerings.