Telangana activists damage buses coming from Andhra


Hyderabad : Pro-Telangana activists Monday hurled stones at private buses and damaged at least 10 of these in Nalgonda district after forcibly stopping vehicles moving from coastal Andhra towards Hyderabad, police said.

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Some activists were injured when police assaulted them with batons at Nakrekal while one police official also sustained critical injuries in stone pelting by the mobs. There were no reports of any injuries to the passengers. Demanding separate statehood to Telangana, activists also destroyed a police vehicle.

Violence broke out when the protestors stopped a convoy of private buses at Nakrekal on Vijayawada-Hyderabad highway. Raising slogans of “Jai Telangana”, they hurled stones, smashing window panes of at least 10 buses.

Policemen escorting the buses used force to disperse the mobs. Some protestors were also arrested.

According to police, the buses were heading towards Hyderabad amid tight security.

Earlier, the protestors stopped the buses at three places after they entered Telangana. Hundreds of passengers were stranded as the buses were stopped at the border in view of threats from groups fighting for a separate Telangana state.

Over 50 private buses coming to Hyderabad from Vijayawada, about 300 km from here, and other towns in coastal Andhra were stopped by authorities at Garikapadu checkpost on the border between Krishna and Nalgonda districts.

Hundreds of passengers had been stranded from 4.30 a.m. as private bus operators alleged that the Nalgonda police had refused to provide them an escort.

Police officers, however, said it would be difficult for them to provide escorts to every vehicle.

Some passengers lodged protests with authorities, saying they were being subjected to hardship as they had to reach Hyderabad to attend offices and visit hospitals. The police then allowed the vehicles up to Kodad so the stranded passengers could have breakfast.

Police told the passengers that they could not take chances by allowing buses to pass through Nalgonda district during the day in view of the threats from protestors.

One passenger said he saw some buses returning to Vijayawada from the checkpost.

Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) chairman M. Kodandaram has already threatened to stop buses operating between coastal Andhra and Hyderabad.

With state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) buses off the roads for two weeks due to the strike by employees in Telangana region, private operators are running more buses on the Vijayawada-Hyderabad route.

Thousands of people from Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Eluru, Guntur and other towns in coastal Andhra travel to Hyderabad each day.

Telangana activists last week set on fire private buses and damaged the window panes of some other vehicles during protests on the highway on the outskirts of Hyderabad and also in Nalgonda district.