Telangana political parties joint action committee chairman Prof M. Kodandaram, who announced that he would float a new political party to take on the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, was arrested along with hundreds of others on Saturday when they tried to participate in a commemorative meeting of the “million march rally” at Tank Bund in Hyderabad. They wanted to protest against the alleged dictatorial rule of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR).
The million march was originally held on 10 March 2011 as a part of the struggle for achieving separate Telangana state. Kodandaram and thousands of TRS activists had taken part in it at the time. The march had led to large scale destruction on Tank Bund at Hussain Sagar Lake in the heart of the city. Angry mobs had damaged several idols of eminent Telugu personalities on Tank Bund.
Then Kiran Kumar Reddy headed Congress government of the time had jailed several activists including many current TRS ministers and legislators and the cases against them were suspended only recently by the KCR government. KCR and Kodandaram had worked together at that time and the million march was touted as a historic struggle for the creation of Telangana.
After Kodandaram fell out with KCR two years ago, some of the JAC member parties including a few front organisations continued agitation to expose the alleged anti-people policies of the KCR government. Now, CPI and some splinter group of ML parties and associations of lawyers, electricity workers and others are with the JAC.
Kodandaram and the JAC planned to hold a meeting at the same place on Tank Bund to commemorate the million march that took place six years ago and also condemn the “authoritarian” attitude of CM KCR. The police, however, denied permission for the meet and clamped prohibitory orders in the city.
Thousands of police personnel were deployed on all major streets and around 200 activists of the JAC were taken into preventive custody since Friday. The police arrested Kodandaram at around 1pm and shifted him to Bolarum police station at the city outskirts. The police said that the arrests were made to prevent rioting and violence that marked the million march in 2011.
CPI Telangana secretary Chada Venkat Reddy condemned the arrests and said that it was undemocratic that KCR, who has announced to hold a dharna against the Centre at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi later this month, crushed a similar protest meeting in Hyderabad. “The police may have foiled our protest today, but we won a moral victory over the TRS government,” he said.