Tension built up in Warangal on Tuesday when Telangana activists, while taking the body of engineering student Deeraj Bharadwaj (19) to Gopalpur for cremation, threw stones at a hotel owned by TDP Rajya Sabha member Gundu Sudha Rani and later tried to attack IT minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah’s house.
TRS leader T Harish Rao was injured in the neck and leg when he lost balance and fell from a trolley while paying tributes to the victim at Hanmakonda crossroads. He was rushed to a private hospital, where doctors referred him to Hyderabad. Harish Rao, however, said the injuries were not serious.
As soon as the post-mortem was over, Telangana supporters took Bharadwaj‘s body in a procession to his home in Gopalpur. He had died after he set himself on fire on Monday night, frustrated due to delay in formation of Telangana state.
Tension was palpable even when the procession started from MGM Hospital with shouts of “Bharadwaj Amar Rahe”. As the rally progressed, some demonstrators broke away and set fire to the flexis of minister Basavaraju Saraiah. Others burnt Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in effigy, holding them responsible for Bharadwaj’s death. Police, who were present in full strength, used force and tried to stop them, but the demonstrators had their way. Three Telangana activists sustained injuries in the lathicharge.
At the martyrs’ memorial at Hanmakonda chowrastha, a huge crowd collected to pay homage to Bharadwaj. Harish Rao and TJAC chairman M Kodandaram spoke on the occasion. “This is a sarkari murder. The Congress is responsible for Bharadwaj’s death,” Kodandaram said.
Later, the body was taken to Gopalpur where it was handed over to Bharadwaj’s parents who performed the last rites.