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Hyderabad turned into fortress to foil students’ protest

Hyderabad, Feb 20 (Calcutta Tube) People in Hyderabad had a harrowing time Saturday as police closed several roads to traffic and local trains were cancelled to foil the Osmania University students’ plan to lay siege to the state assembly over the issue of statehood for Telangana.

All roads leading to the assembly building in the heart of the city and routes out of Osmania University campus were sealed by police, at least five flyovers were closed and restrictions were imposed across the city.

Unprecedented security was in place as 20,000 personnel from police and paramilitary forces were deployed and prohibitory orders were imposed in Hyderabad and Cyberabad police commissionerates.

The police have declared ‘illegal’ the proposed rally by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Osmania University students to the assembly. The JAC is demanding the resignation of all elected representatives from Telangana to force the central government to immediately initiate the process for the formation of a separate Telangana state to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh.

All roads in a three-kilometre radius around the assembly building wore a deserted look. Barricades were erected and hundreds of security personnel were standing along the roads.

Only vehicles of police, ministers, legislators and mediapersons were seen plying on the roads.

The assembly session began at 9 a.m. and Chief Minister K. Rosaiah will be presenting the budget in the afternoon.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner A.K. Khan told reporters that anybody violating the law would be dealt with strongly. He appealed to students from other districts not to come to Hyderabad for the rally.

Police erected barricades on roads connecting the city to other Telangana districts to stop students from reaching the state capital.

Authorities have also stopped several trains on the Hyderabad-Warangal route, apparently to prevent students of Warangal’s Kakatiya University from reaching Hyderabad. Police, however, claimed that trains were stopped after a bomb threat.

South Central Railway cancelled almost all MMTS local trains in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

Police and paramilitary forces threw a security cordon around Osmania University, the hotbed of the Telangana movement. But JAC leaders said they were determined to take out a march in a peaceful and democratic manner.

The traffic restrictions across the city caused severe inconvenience to people. School and college students and office-goers had a tough time as the diversion of vehicles caused traffic jams at several points.

Besides deployment of the entire 10,000-strong city police force, an equal number of security personnel from other parts of the state, neighbouring states and paramilitary forces were mobilised.

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