Protesters Clash With Police, Set Fire To RTC Bus
The agitation demanding creation of a separate Jangaon district from the existing Warangal district took an ugly turn on Friday with protesters setting fire to an RTC bus and indulging in brick-batting with the police. Meanwhile, in Mahbubnagar district, police arrested Congress MLAs DK Aruna and Sampath Kumar for holding a dharna demanding creation of Gadwal district.
One bus was completely burnt and four other TSRTC buses had their window panes broken when protesters, blocking the Hyderabad-Warangal highway , threw stones at the vehicles. Police resorted to lathi-charge to control the situation and had to struggle for a couple of hours to clear the blocked road and traffic on the busy national highway .
Jangaon had been gripped by an agitation over the past few weeks with sporadic protests that have increasingly become strident over the last few days. All political parties and non-political action committees seeking a separate Jangaon district took part in the protest. The only party to stay away was the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti.
On Friday , protesters who gathered on the national highway , began marching towards the residence of local MLA from TRS, M Yadagiri Reddy , to demand that he add his voice to the demand to make Jangaon a separate district.
However, the protesters were stopped some distance away from the MLA’s residence by police led by DSP Padmanabha Reddy and CI Srinivasulu, who had to resort to mild caning to control the crowd. While this was going on, traffic from both sides on the highway came to a halt and some unidentified persons threw a Molotov cocktail at a Palle Velugu bus setting it ablaze.
Fortunately , the bus was empty as all passengers got down to watch the protest. Though efforts were made by RTC staff, who rushed to the spot from the Janagaon bus station to put out the fire, they could not do so and the entire vehicle was burnt.
The protest that began around 10 am ended only after 2 pm when all the demonstrators were dispersed. In all, eight persons were taken into custody by the police and later released on personal bail.
Jangaon Zilla Sadhana Committee convenor R Dashamanth Reddy said that irrespective of parties, the citizens of Jangaon were demanding that it be delcared as a new district.
Meanwhile, in Mahbubnagar, a protest demanding a new Gadwal district was stopped by the police after Congress’ Aruna and Sampath Kumar were arrested.
The Congress MLAs were staging a sit-in on the national highway at Erravalli along with their supporters. The large crowd that blocked the traffic were later dispersed by the police. Police said they had no option but to do so as traffic had come to a standstill for a few kilometres on either direction of the highway between Hyderabad and Bengaluru.