Dharna Chowk near Indra Park, the epicentre for democratic protests by various political parties and organizations for the past many years, has on Monday virtually turned into a battle ground with Opposition parties and TJAC members coming to a clash with the police and the local people.
The TJAC and the Opposition parties have given the “Chalo Dharna Chowk” call to express their protest against the state government’s decision to ban any sort of protests, dharnas or rallies near Indra Park. The spot where these protest meetings were being held for the past many years has come to be known as Dharna Chowk. However the State Government has recently banned any protest meetings at Dharna Chowk on the pretext that the locality people, besides the morning walkers and sports persons, have demanded that the area might be declared as a protest-free zone.
Demanding that status quo should be maintained at Dharna Chowk, the TJAC members and all the opposition parties decided to hold a meeting this morning. The police made elaborate security arrangements to foil the attempt by the opposition parties to converge at the place. Even barricades were erected in the area.
Trouble started when hundreds of supporters of the Left Parties, JAC members and Jana Sena activists reached the spot raising slogans and holding placards. Surprisingly scores of local people, also holding placards supporting the decision of the government, also reached the spot. This led to a clash between both the groups forcing the police to intervene.
As both the groups clashed with each other, making full use of the lathis and sticks meant for placards, and also hurling plastic chairs, the police resorted to a lathi charge. The already tense atmosphere further escalated into a serious situation with the arrival of Congress and TDP activists led by leaders like V. Hanumantha Rao, Revanth Reddy, L. Ramana and others. Both the groups indulged in hurling stones at each other. Many were injured in the stone throwing as well as police lathi charge.
TJAC Chairman Prof. Kodandaram accused the state government of deliberately creating disturbance and tension in the area by instigating the people. Asserting they were expressing their resentment over the government’s decision on Dharna Chowk in a democratic and peaceful manner, he alleged the government was encouraging unsocial elements to attack them.
Congress leader V. Hanumantha Rao and TDP legislator Revanth Reddy also accused the government of instigating the so-called local residents to attack those demanding restoration of dharna chowk. ‘We will relentlessly fight for forcing the government to withdraw its ban order’, they declared.
Revanth Reddy reacted strongly against Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for provoking people against each other. Citing the visuals in the TV Channels, Revanth Reddy said that few police constables were made to come in civil dress and protest against opposition parties, and demanding relocation of Dharna Chowk. (NSS).