Protester injured during attack on Congress office dies


Hyderabad : An activist of a caste group who suffered injuries when a mob set afire the headquarters of the Congress party here Saturday died at a hospital, the police said Sunday.

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Surendra Madiga, a member of Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti (MRPS), succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital, the police said.

His death triggered state-wide protest by the MRPS, which blamed the ruling party for the incident.

He was among three MRPS activists who were injured while setting fire to Gandhi Bhavan, the state headquarters of the ruling party. Two staffers of the Congress office were also injured.

The condition of another MRPS activist continues to be critical, the police said.

The MRPS launched state-wide protest soon after Surendra Madiga’s death. Its activists attacked offices of the Congress party, damaged buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation and privately owned shops.

The police sounded alert following sporadic incidents of violence. Security has been tightened at the offices of the Congress and at the houses of ministers and party leaders.

MRPS activists also resorted to violence in some parts of Hyderabad. They demonstrated against the ruling party when Surendra Madiga’s body was shifted to his house in Abids area. They pelted stones at shops and buses.

MRPS leader Manda Krishna Madiga, who visited the hospital, broke down while talking to reporters. “We begged the chief minister and every leader of the Congress party to fulfill our long-pending demand,” he said while blaming the ruling party for Saturday’s incident.

He warned that the Congress would have to pay a heavy price. He announced a week-long mourning.

On Saturday evening, MRPS activists barged into the Congress office and torched furniture and office records but were themselves caught in the fire as Gandhi Bhavan staffers grappled with them.

The incident took place when Congress president Sonia Gandhi was addressing a public meeting at Secunderabad Parade Grounds, about 10 km from Gandhi Bhavan.

Angry over the delay in categorisation of backward classes, the MRPS had announced its plans to disrupt Sonia Gandhi’s visit. Some protestors also tried to disrupt the public meeting but were arrested by the police.

The MRPS has been demanding the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to bring a legislation for categorisation of backward classes.

Madigas, a backward class, want categorisation to ensure that they enjoy reservations in proportion to their population.

MRPS claims that Malas, another backward class, was cornering all the reservation benefits.

Last month, some MRPS activists had climbed on the floor of the high-security state assembly building and threatened to jump to death if the Congress party failed to bring a legislation in parliament. The police and security staff later overpowered them.