Buses torched in Telangana to demand students release

Saturday, December 18, 2010

HYDERABAD - Unidentified men set afire two buses in Telangana demanding release of Osmania University student leaders, police said Saturday, even as the Andhra Pradesh government sought central paramilitary forces to quell possible violence in the region.

Meanwhile, bowing to pressure from pro-Telangana students, Osmania University authorities have postponed MA, MSc and M.Com examinations which were scheduled to begin Sunday.

Unidentified people set ablaze a private college bus at Medipalli near Uppal on the outskirts of Hyderabad around Friday midnight. They left behind a letter, demanding the government immediately release leaders of Osmania University Joint Action Committee (JAC) lodged at Cherlapally jail here.

In a similar incident near Irukulla in Karimnagar district, a bus of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation was set afire. The attackers handed over a letter to the driver, demanding release of student leaders.

These incidents took place even as 11 student leaders in Cherlapally jail continued their indefinite fast for the third day Saturday, demanding withdrawal of cases against them.

They were arrested in connection with violence on the campus during protests demanding separate statehood to Telangana region.

The government Monday announced withdrawal of cases against 2,436 students who participated in Telangana agitation between December 2009 and September this year. It, however, refused to withdraw cases against about 6,000 other protesters on the ground that they were of serious nature.

The bus burning incidents took place at a time when the state has sought about 50 companies of central paramilitary to quell possible violence after Dec 31.

Majority of these forces from the Central Reserve Police Force, the Border Security Force and the Central Industrial Security Force would be deployed in and around Hyderabad next week. Each company comprises 120 personnel.

The Srikrishna committee, which is looking into the demand for and against a separate Telangana state, is to submit its report to the centre by Dec 31.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti and other groups fighting for a separate state have already threatened to launch massive protests if the central government fails to carve out Telangana state after the panel’s report.

The university has been the nerve centre of Telangana agitation since November last year.

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