Going to the Hussain Sagar on Sunday is not going to be a picnic with thousands of Telangana supporters likely to mass along the rim of the lake for the Telangana March, much in a mood to tease the police. And there’s another edge to the eyeball-to-eyeball on Sunday: the 25 companies of policemen standing guard are likely to be bleary-eyed and on edge after spending all of Saturday and the early hours of Sunday minding the Ganesh immersion procession.
So for the citizens of Hyderabad, Sunday is likely to be better spent at home. Given the restrictions on several roads and the shutdown of cinemas, there’s likely to be little to go to.
The police had earlier permitted the assembly from Buddha Bhavan to the P V Narasimha Rao statue, but city police commissioner Anurag Sharma announced late night that the protest venue has been changed to Sanjeevaiah Park, what with Necklace Road being choked with parked trucks. Sharma added that no rallies would be permitted on Necklace Road.
The decision was reportedly taken in consultation with the TJAC. So, it’s going to be nothing like the ‘haaram’ (necklace) around the Hussain Sagar that the TJAC’s march planners had wanted it to be. If the marchers make a break for the Secretariat side or the Tank Bund, the police will be baton ready to stop them in their tracks.
As for the timing, the march will be limited-hours-only: from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. But then the marchers may start moving towards the venue right from the morning. So expect the police to barricade almost all roads leading to the lake and screen every individual for any demolition or incendiary material.
And the march is very likely to go past 7 p.m. According to TJAC chairman, Prof Kodandaram “the marchers will stay put as long as they can,” or, decoded, until the police request them to go home.
The police, however, are keeping their fingers crossed. “We don’t want to take any chances,” said one senior officer, recalling the experience of the Million March last year when people gathered innoucously enough but suddenly broke through the cordon and destroyed statues.
Apart from keeping an eye on the lake rim, hundreds of policemen have been deployed on roads leading to the city from Telangana districts: Tarnaka (Warangal), Uppal (Nalgonda), Shamshabad (Mahbubagar), Medchal (Nizamabad), Sangareddy (Medak).