Thousands gather for Telangana meet at Osmania varsity


Hyderabad : Thousands of students from various parts of Telangana gathered at the Osmania University here Sunday to demand that the central government immediately initiate the process for granting statehood to the region.

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In what was seen as the biggest show of strength by Telangana supporters since the movement gathered steam a month ago, thousands of students from Hyderabad and nine other districts of the region gathered at the sprawling university campus.

Armed with the court permission to hold the meeting after police denied it, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of students mobilised thousands of students from various parts of the region for “vidyarthi garjana” (students’ roar).

The meeting began at 4 p.m. under the tight vigil of hundreds of policemen and personnel of paramilitary forces, who allowed students into the university campus only after establishing their identity.

The campus reverberated with the slogans of “Jai Telangana” as the JAC went all out to make the event a grand success.

Before the meeting began, dozens of folk singers performed on the stage set against the backdrop of the majestic Arts College building.

There were loud cheers as the balladeers through their songs in the traditional Telangana style underlined the need for Telangana state and highlighted the injustice meted out to the region by successive rulers from Andhra.

JAC leaders alleged that thousands of students could not reach Hyderabad as police stopped them in various towns despite court orders allowing the JAC to hold the meeting.

Though the Andhra Pradesh High Court Saturday allowed the JAC to hold its meeting at the campus with certain conditions, police stopped vehicles carrying students in various districts.

JAC leaders alleged that the police were violating court order by arresting students and using repressive measures to foil the meeting. In Warangal, police stopped vehicles carrying students of Kakatiya University to Hyderabad on the ground that the vehicles had no permission to ply.

The high court Saturday allowed the JAC to hold the meeting but barred political leaders and Maoists from addressing it.

The all-party JAC comprises of members from the ruling Congress, the opposition Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and others.

The Osmania University has emerged as the nerve centre of the Telangana agitation which began Nov 29 when TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao launched fast unto death, demanding statehood to Telangana.

The massive protests and Rao’s hunger strike forced the central government to announce on Dec 9 that the process for formation of the new state would be initiated. However, following protests in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, the government made a second statement Dec 23 underlining the need for wide-ranging consultations on the issue.