HYDERABAD: The LB Nagar crossroads turned into a battleground on Saturday, as police began lathicharging hoards of Congress workers, who had turned up to pay respects to Srikanth Chary, a student who had set himself afire during the Telangana movement (2009), on the first day of the 'Vidyarthi Nirudyoga Jung Siren' (War siren of the unemployed youth).
The injured workers included NSUI leader Balmoor Venkat, who was declared the Congress candidate for Huzurabad bypoll on the same day, and scores of others who attempted to garland the statue of Srikanth Chary, who is considered a symbol of struggle of the Telangana youth by many.
Though the police had placed several leaders under house arrest in the morning and rounded up many workers at different parts of the city, hundreds turned up at LB Nagar by evening. As TPCC president A Revanth Reddy was also under house arrest, many activists gathered at his residence, breaking the ranks of policemen who were deployed to ensure that he stayed home.
Revanth called for the burning of effigies of the 'father' and the 'son' (a reference to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and IT Minister KT Rama Rao), in front of Gandhi and Ambedkar statues at all the mandal headquarters.
Before addressing his supporters, Revanth had got into a heated argument with the police, seeking an explanation for his illegal house arrest. Alleging that the TRS government was acting like the Taliban, he asked the policemen whether paying tributes to a Telangana martyr was a crime in the State.
He appealed to all the activists of the Telangana movement, employees, SCCL and RTC workers, students and other sections of the society to support the Congress' Jung Siren and join the ‘Aakhiri Poratam’ (last struggle) against the 'dictatorial' and 'arrogant' rule of KCR.
Meanwhile, a Congress activist from Delhi named Kalyan, a student of Osmania University, tried to follow in the footsteps of Srikanth Chary by immolating himself. His attempt, however, was foiled by the cops.
Earlier in the day, Congress leaders Sampath Kumar and Maheshwar Reddy were arrested and shifted to Uppal police station. The arrested also included campaign committee chairman Madhu Yashki Goud and convenor Azmatullah.