Telangana Congress working president Revanth Reddy was taken into preventive custody Monday after he attempted to lay siege to Pragati Bhavan in support of the striking Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees.
Reportedly, Revanth Reddy tried to escape the police on a two-wheeler from his house to reach Pragati Bhavan but was later caught at the CM's official residence.
Though the police turned the entire area into a virtual fortress by deploying a large number of security personnel, including grey hounds, special police and task force, Congress working president and MP A Revanth Reddy, MLA Jayaprakash Reddy alias Jagga Reddy, former MP Anjan Kumar Yadav, former MLC P Ramulu, official spokesperson Indira Shobhan, youth Congress state chief Anil Kumar Yadav and a few others managed to reach near Pragati Bhavan.
However, all their attempts to stage a protest in front of Pragati Bhavan were foiled by the security personnel as they were promptly bundled into waiting police vans and shifted to various police stations in the city.
Revanth Reddy, for whom the police had launched a search operation, reached Pragati Bhavan in a dramatic manner on a two wheeler, after giving the slip to security personnel deployed outside his residence in Jubilee hills with the help of his supporters.
Though security personnel identified Revanth near Panjagutta, he dodged them and almost reached the Pragati Bhavan security barricade entrance point. However, he was promptly arrested and shifted to an unknown police station.
Revanth in a planned manner had leaked information to media early in the morning claiming that he was not at his Jubilee hills residence but was hiding at the residence of his close associate or at a hotel in the city.
The police besides deploying security personnel at his residence searched for him at his close associates' residences and hotels, but could not locate him.
Around noon, Revanth Reddy suddenly appeared out of his residence along with his supporters and rushed towards a waiting two wheeler and sped towards Pragati Bhavan. Though security personnel tried to catch hold of him, his supporters pushed them aside.
Speaking to the media as he was being whisked away by the security personnel, Revanth Reddy demanded thr chief minister to immediately hold talks with RTC workers and resolve the issue amicably.
He also demanded compensation for the families of the RTC workers who had killed themselves. Condemning his house arrest, Reddy said: "Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao should end his monarchy else the people will destroy the walls of Pragathi Bhavan one day."
Even Jagga Reddy reaching Pragati Bhavan was no less dramatic. The Congress MLA, who was placed under house arrest at his Jubilee Hills residence, gave the slip to security personnel by saying that he wanted to take a walk along with his son on the street.
As soon as he came out of his residence, he got into an auto rickshaw and reached Pragati Bhavan. Security personnel did not notice him until he got down from the vehicle.
Prominent Congress leaders including Sarve Sathyanarayana, Ponnala Laxmaiah, Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, V Hanumantha Rao, Ponnam Prabhakar, D Sridhar Babu and Mohammed Ali Shabbir were put under house arrest earlier on Monday.
Police resorted to arrests of leaders and activists in various parts of the state since early Monday to prevent them from heading towards Hyderabad. Several leaders were held in Hyderabad and 32 other districts.
District Congress Committee (DCC) president Naini Rajender Reddy was put under house arrest as well as Congress leaders in Wardhannapet, Mahabubabad, Jagtial, Sircilla and LB Nagar were arrested earlier.
Many Congress leaders and Osmania University student leaders have also been detained, as per reports.
ఆర్టీసీ కార్మికులను వెంటనే చర్చలకు పిలవాలి.చనిపోయిన కార్మికుల కుటుంబాలకు వెంటనే నష్టపరిహారం చెల్లించాలి.కెసిఆర్ నియంతృత్వపు పోకడలు నశించాలి.నాలుగు కోట్ల మంది తెలంగాణ ప్రజలు ప్రగతి భవన్ గోడలు బద్దలు గొట్టటం ఖాయం. #RTCStrike #TSRTCStrike #PragathiBhavanMuttadi @INCTelangana pic.twitter.com/gStjYDtRG9— Revanth Reddy (@revanth_anumula) October 21, 2019
As the striking employees of TSRTC and students of Osmania University are likely to reach the chief minister's residence, police are not taking any chances.
TSR govt under fire from Opposition for tough stand
The Congress party had called "Chalo Pragati Bhavan" to protest the government's adamant attitude over the demands of TSRTC employees, whose strike entered 17th day on Monday.
The Chief Minister has ruled out talks with the employees and declared that over 48,000 dismissed themselves by not joining the duties.
The strike saw suicide by two striking employees and the death of a couple of others due to cardiac arrest.
A state-wide shutdown was observed on 21 October on a call given by TSRTC employees and backed by all opposition parties.
On Friday, Revanth Reddy had claimed that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had cancelled his public meeting in Huzurnagar because he was scared of TSRTC workers.
Hundreds of policemen were deployed around Pragati Bhavan, the Chief Minister's official residence, to stop the protestors. Barricades were erected on roads leading to Pragati Bhavan in Begumpet, causing traffic snarls in the busy area in the heart of the city.
Authorities also shut down Hyderabad Metro Rail station at Begumpet to prevent the Congress workers from reaching the area.
Police officials were also searching hotels and lodges in Begumpet and surrounding areas to check if Congress workers were staying there.
As schools reopen, TSRTC strike to hit transport services
Schools across the state re-opened on Monday after the extended Dasara holidays. The ongoing RTC strike is expected to affect transport services amid the surge of students.
Lakhs of students of schools, junior colleges and degree colleges are set to put the TSRTC to the test, especially in Hyderabad and Secunderabad, where the corporation has only been able to run 50-60 per cent of its operational capacity of buses.
Student bus passes will be valid in all buses, and the temporary conductors will be told to accept them,” a senior TSRTC official told Express.
Nearly 48,000 employees of different unions of the corporation began an indefinite strike on October 5 across the state on a call given by JAC demanding its merger with the government, pay revision, among others resulting in state-run buses staying off the roads causing inconvenience to commuters.
RTC employees and workers on Sunday held protests and took out rallies raising slogans against Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Ruling out discussions with the agitating unions, the TRS government had said the employees' stir was "illegal" as they caused immense inconvenience to public.
The Telangana High Court had on Friday directed the RTC and the employees to sit across the negotiating table and settle all their disputes before October 28.
In view of the ongoing RTC strike, an additional 50,000 passengers were travelling daily by metro trains as against an average of 3 lakh daily travellers, the Hyderabad Metro said.
(With inputs from Express News Service, IANS and PTI)