New Delhi, Feb 22 (Calcutta Tube) The Telangana agitation in Andhra Pradesh found its echo in the national capital Monday as hundreds of lawyers from the region held a noisy rally here demanding statehood for the region and tried to enter the parliament annexe, police said.
Holding placards that read ‘Lathi, goli khayenge, Telanagana le jaayenge’ (We will suffer baton and bullets but will take Telangana) and shouting ‘Jai Telangana’, lawyers voiced their demand at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital.
The astronomical observatory, built in 1724 by Raja Jai Singh II of Jaipur, on the edge of the posh commercial district of Connaught Place in New Delhi has emeged the new point of rally for agitators of diverse causes.
The protest was timed to coincide with the opening day of the budget session of parliament.
The agitators, men and women lawyers dressed in their black and white professional attire, demanded that a bill for formation of a separate Telangana state should be moved in parliament at the earliest.
Political leaders like Prakash Javedekar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), former leader of the Samajwadi Party Amar Singh, and Ajit Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) also participated in the Telangana lawyers’ rally.
Mohammad Rafi, one of the agitating lawyers, told IANS: ‘Never before have lawyers come to Delhi in such huge numbers for a cause. The government should move an early bill in parliament for creation of a separate state of Telanagana.’.
Rafi, who hails from Vikharabad, some 70 km from Hyderabad, said that nearly 2,000 lawyers have participated in the protest here.
Sarat Kaja, another protestor, said: ‘A large number of students have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Telangana since 1969. This is one of the oldest demands and should be fulfilled.’
‘While a full train was hired by us to come to Delhi, there are others who took the flight or made their own arrangements,’ he added.
Besides shouting slogans and holding flags of would-be Telangana, the protestors had a cultural troupe with them who sang songs to motivate the lot.
At the end of the protest, the agitating lawyers tried to march to parliament but were stopped by police who were present in large numbers.
Even as police used water canons to disperse the lawyers, a group of nearly 150 lawyers slipped away and managed to reach near the parliament annexe. They tried to forcibly enter the place, but were stopped by the security personnel.
‘The situation is under control and no one has been allowed to enter (the parliament annexe). Extra police force has been called,’ a senior police officer said.
S. Krishna, a lawyer, said: ‘Over 100 lawyers were taken into preventive custody but were later released.’
The protestors have also planned a candle light vigil at India Gate Monday evening.
The Telangana region comprises nine districts of Andhra Pradesh, including the state capital Hyderabad. The separate statehood to Telangana is vehemently opposed by the two other regions of the state – Rayalseema and Andhra.