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Dharna Chowk Turns Battleground As Police, Agitators Clash

Dharna Chowk near Indira Park virtually turned into a battleground with opposition parties and TJAC members clashing with the police and the local people.
Hyderabad | 15th May 2017
Dharna Chowk near Indira Park, the epicentre for democratic protests by various political parties and organizations for the past many years, on Monday virtually turned into a battleground with opposition parties and TJAC members clashing with the police and the local people.

TJAC and the opposition parties had given a "Chalo Dharna Chowk" call for May 15 to protest against the state government's decision to ban any sort of protests, dharnas or rallies near Indira Park. The spot where these protest meetings were being held for the past many years has come to be known as Dharna Chowk. The state government recently banned any protest meetings at Dharna Chowk on the pretext that the locality's people, as also the morning walkers and sportspersons frequenting Indira Park, had demanded that the area be declared a protest-free zone.

Demanding that status quo 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, TJAC 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 supporting sticks of the placards and also hurling plastic chairs, the police resorted to a lathi charge.

The already tense atmosphere got further exacerbated with the arrival of Congress and TDP activists led by leaders including V Hanumantha Rao, Revanth Reddy, L Ramana and others. The combatants then indulged in hurling stones at each other. Many were injured in the stone throwing and in the lathi charge.

TJAC Chairman M Kodandaram accused the state government of deliberately creating disturbance and tension in the area by instigating the people. Asserting that they were expressing their resentment over the government's decision on Dharna Chowk in a democratic and peaceful manner, he alleged that the government had encouraged unsocial elements to attack them to portray the event as violent.

V Hanumantha Rao and 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 to force the government to withdraw its ban order," they declared.

Reddy reacted strongly to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao "provoking the people against each other". Citing the visuals in the TV channels, he said that a few police constables were made to come in civil dresses and protest against the opposition parties, and demand relocation of Dharna Chowk.
filed in:  Protests, Dharna Chowk, Revanth Reddy, M Kodandaram, Police, Hyderabad Police, Lathi Charge, Violence
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