HYDERABAD: The dormant anger of Telangana people over the presence of a large number of statues of eminent persons from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions on the Tank Bund exploded on Thursday, taking everyone by surprise. Taking advantage of the Million March, they went on the rampage, completely damaged 14 statues and threw them into Hussainsagar lake.
The statues of 33 prominent persons including kings, poets, social reformers, artists and writers who strove for the Telugu culture were installed on the Tank Bund when NT Rama Rao came to power in 1984. The statues also included Kakatiya ruler Rani Rudrama Devi and great Telugu poet Bammera Potana who hailed from the Telangana region.
Ever since the Telangana movement became intensified, people from the region started complaining that only half a dozen of the 33 statues represented Telangana though and several prominent sons of the soil were ignored for installation of their statues. The resentment grew into anger when the government ignored the demand made by the TRS and BJP for installation of the statue of Adilabad tribal leader Komaram Bheem who worked for uplift of tribal people and waged a relentless struggle against Nizam's rule. BJP leaders went to the extent of threatening to dismantle the existing statues if Bheem's was not installed there. If a statue of revolutionary poet Sri Sri, who never mentioned Telangana, could be installed, why not Komaram Bheem's was the argument of hardcore Telanganites.
Though the government buckled under pressure and agreed to the demand, work has not been initiated in this regard due to lack of funds.
Today, the frustration and anger of marchers over the obstacles created by the police saw no bounds. They displayed no regional bias in attacking the statues. The angry mob went on damaging the statues, one after the other, without realising that one of the statues they damaged was that of composer Bhakta Ramadasu who built the Rama temple at Bhadrachalam.
The agitators uprooted the statues using the iron rods and ropes they picked from the barricades put up by the police.