Sunday saw a hectic game of outwitting and outsmarting between the Telangana votaries and police personnel.
While the latter used every trick in the book to obstruct the protestors from reaching the main protest venue in the city and succeeded to some extent, the Telangana marchers took the police by surprise in several places, sneaking in via alternative routes, to ensure that a huge crowd participated in the march.
It all started early Sunday morning when scores of Telangana supporters started off from all the districts of the region, bound for Necklace Road to swell the number of protestors.
While more than 3000 to 4000 people from each district had already arrived in Hyderabad two to three days ago, another 4000 to 7,000 persons started for the state capital on Sunday morning.
Apart from activists of various political parties supporting the cause, large number of employees, teachers, students and even general public travelled in private and personal vehicles to participate in the event. Sensing trouble, the police put up checking points on all roads leading into the city from Telangana districts and sealed many entry points.
In Medak district, the police erected more than 15 checkposts including at Medchal, Toopran, Siddipet, Medak, and Muttangi.
Similar checkposts were erected at various places like Kadthal on Srisailam highway and Thimmapur in Kottur mandal of Mahbubnagar district apart from the districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, and Nalgonda.
In Karimnagar, the police obstructed three private buses in which employees were travelling and took the drivers into custody saying they did not had valid documents to drive the vehicles.
In some districts like Warangal, some police personnel reportedly punctured tyres of private vehicles which were arranged to take people to the T-March.
In all, the police took at least 500 to 900 persons into preventive custody in each district despite the government orders against it and released them after 6 p.m.
Across the region, irregular power interruptions and cable television disruptions were witnessed which were termed as an attempt by the government to prevent people from watching the proceedings on television.
Cable news channels were completely disconnected in all districts in the region, including Hyderabad, reportedly under directions from the police.
While the Railways had cancelled 40 trains, including local and sub-urban train services in Hyderabad, on Sunday, the RTC bus services ran minimal operations. Additionally, a few trains coming from Telangana districts were stalled at various railway stations citing technical problems.
Passengers of Satavahana Express lodged their protest with the Railway authorities after it was stopped at Jangaon for more than six hours. However, many Telangana activists outsmarted these police tactics and reached Hyderabad for the march.
Instead of major roads, they came via alternative routes passing through villages. They also moved in small numbers and travelled in personal vehicles to evade questions. But TRS MLA T Harish Rao did not opt to sneak in and led a huge convoy of more than 200 vehicles comprising about 10,000 people from Siddipet, making it virtually impossible for the police stationed en-route to stop them.
At Muttangi and Siddipet, T activists staged rasta rokos and dharnas when their vehicles were barred from going to Hyderabad
Heavy Rain Caused by Cloud Seeding?
HYDERABAD: Did the state government plot cloud seeding so that a heavy rain can wash out the Telangana March on the Necklace Road on Sunday? It was a doubt expressed by some participants in the protest march which was allowed to be held from 3 pm to 7 pm.
A helicopter had circled over the venue several times before 6 pm and when the heavy downpour lashed the place for nearly 20 minutes at the end of the permitted time, it gave rise to the suspicion.
Meanwhile, those seated and standing near the dais to listen to the speeches of leaders felt uncomfortable by the smoke from the teargas shells, which lobbed on the stage to force the leaders to vacate the place after 7 pm and also at the students who tried to remove the barricades behind the stage.
Sensing the problem, Doctors JAC leader Dr Narasiaiah advised the crowd to smell the dirt or crushed leaves or onions to escape the tear-gas effect.