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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Students suicide in OU puts Telangana on the boil again -OU Students Want All T MLAs, MPs To Quit; Call For Bandh Today

Hyderabad: Telangana is on the boil once again after the suspected suicide of an MCA student on the Osmania University campus. Hundreds of angry OU students called for a bandh on Wednesday and demanded the resignations of all elected representatives from the region in order to give momentum to the separate state movement. By Tuesday night, the OU students placed the body of their mate outside Arts College and vowed not to allow it to be taken from there until all the MPs and MLAs quit their posts. In response to the students demand, five MLAs from TRS and one from PRP went to Speaker N Kiran Kumar Reddys residence in the evening and pressed for the acceptance of their resignations. But with the Speaker telling them that he would take a decision in two to three days, they staged a dharna. They were later arrested and released by the police .

TDP MLA E Dayakar Rao said all the 39 party MLAs from the region would do the same on Wednesday. While BJP and two MLAs from PRP said they would also follow suit, the heat is on the Congress MLAs and MPs, who have two options : Either obey the diktat of their high command not to press for the acceptance of their resignations or face the wrath of the Telangana people. What triggered the days developments was the discovery of a totally charred body of K Venugopal Reddy under a tree near Tagore Auditorium on the OU campus by morning walkers. Reddy, a 23-year-old MCA final-year student of Lalitha PG and Degree College in Ghatkesar, hailed from Nalgonda district and used to stay at Nacharam.

Venugopal was last seen studying with his friends at the Landscape Gardens in the university on Monday evening. I left the place around that time and Venugopal had told me that he would shortly go home, said the victims friend Ravinder. Earlier, Venugopal had called his brother Srinivas and told him that he was at the OU campus and would reach home a little late. The last conversation which the brothers had was at 5.10 pm after which Venugopals phone was switched off. The police found a suicide note under Venugopals bag and his cell phone. The note said: Jai Telangana. Telangana radu ani chanipothunna. Sonia Gandhi, Telangana ivvamma (I am killing myself because Telangana is not happening. Sonia should immediately grant a separate state). Srinivas told TOI that the handwriting in the suicide note was indeed that of his brothers . The police registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC (suspicious death). The sleuths at the spot said there were no signs of struggle at the place where the body was found. An burnt water bottle was found nearby. All evidence points to suicide, said both doctors and police. The victims brother Srinivas as well as his classmates, Santosh and Praveen, told TOI that Venugopal was very agitated over the Telangana issue. He was part of the student group that protested outside the vice chancellors office on Monday morning demanding postponement of exams. When the authorities refused to do so, he said the movement would be hit if the exams were allowed to be conducted as per schedule, they said.

After the body was found in the morning, OU authorities cancelled the examinations scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. However , the exams scheduled for Thursday onwards would take place, they said. Agitated students, meanwhile, gathered at the spot where Venugopals body was found and did not allow it to be removed from there demanding that all the Telangana MLAs and MPs press for the acceptance of their resignations. This demand forced the Telangana JAC to hold an emergency meeting, after which they went to the OU campus and assured the students that the resignation spree would begin immediately. A post-mortem on the victim was conducted at the spot after which the students took the body and placed it outside Arts College. While the JAC of OU students called for a two-day shutdown, the Telangana political parties JAC convenor M Kodandaram said there would be only one-day bandh on Wednesday. By nightfall, long queues of vehicles began to form outside petrol pumps across the region. Meanwhile, APSRTC cancelled all its longdistance bus services in Telangana by Tuesday night itself in view of the bandh.
Its era of bandhs in AP
Its the era of bandhs in Andhra Pradesh. In the last one and a half months, bandhs were enforced on as many as 11 days, the last one being on January 4 in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. And, its time for one more bandh in Telanagana on Wednesday. Inclusive of Sundays and holidays, the nonworking days since Novemberend last year are more than 20.

It all began with Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader K Chandrasekhar Rao executing his threat of going on an indefinite fast pressing for the creation of a separate Telangana state on November 29. A bandh was enforced the following day when KCR was forcibly shifted to the hospital and give up his fast. TRS cadres enforced a twoday bandh on December 6-7 (inclusive of a Sunday). With the Centre being in favour of a separate Telangana state going by the announcement of Union home minister P Chidambaram , a bandh was called for on December 19 in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions to oppose bifurcation of the state. A two-day bandh on December 11 and 12 was enforced once again in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.

Even as the Centre tried to cool down frayed tempers, Telangana protagonists got into the act again to enforce a bandh on December 23 and 24. This was followed by another bandh on December 30 only to signal to the Centre that they would not settle for anything less than a separate Telangana state. Though political parties have been in the habit of calling for bandhs frequently to show that they are fighting on public issues, bandhs called for in the past by Maoists were taken seriously. In the era of bandhs, Maoists too jumped into the fray and called for a bandh not just in Andhra Pradesh but in some other states. However, there was hardly any reponse for the Maoists bandh here.

Vexed with the frequent bandhs that were being enforced , earlier this month, a resident of Nellore petitioned the A P High Court to intervene and stop political parties from enforcing bandhs. Notices were served on the political parties by the court. Chief minister K Rosaiah tried to voice his concern about bandhs saying that at least Rs 100 crore was the loss on account of a bandh each time but that seems to have hardly mattered to those who call for bandhs.
T-protests rock Osmania again - Students Death Leads To Tense Situation As Protesters Force Postponement Of Exams
The death of K Venugopal Reddy, a third year MCA student of Lalita PG and Degree College , Ghatkesar triggered student protests on Osmania University campus forcing university authorities to cancel the days examination. With news about the death of the student spreading like wildfire, even other universities in the T belt including Kakatiya University and Satavahana University announced cancellation of their examinations. Officials at OU also announced that there would be no exam held on Wednesday either. The protesting students asked the vice-chancellor to postpone the examinations indefinitely till the T separation was initiated and said that they will not allow examinations to be held anywhere in the T region. The OU authorities, however, maintained that the examinations will be held as per schedule from January 21. Some members of OU JAC who had set out on a Padyatra to ten districts of Telangana also announced their support to the agitation on campus and decided to skip their lunch as a mark of respect to the martyr .

Trouble started on OU campus from early morning. The charred body of Venugopal Reddy was found near Tagore Auditorium at 6 am by three morning walkers, but the word about his death spread on campus only at around 8 am when the students started coming out of their hostels . By 8.30 am, the OU Joint Action Committee gave a call to boycott examinations that were to start on Tuesday and declared a campus bandh. Hundreds of students then gathered in front of examination centres on OU campus and refused to write their semester exams. The students who had turned up at various examination centres on the university campus to write their exams were prevented from entering the halls by JAC volunteers. The protesting students refused to enter the halls even after 9.30 am, the time for commencement of the exam. However, in some of the PG colleges affiliated to OU, the examination had commenced peacefully and was called off midway after the university authorities made the announcement to cancel the examinations . By 10 am, the students gathered around the body shouting slogans in support of the T cause. The situation turned grave when the police and RAF officials tried shifting Venugopals body.

Agitated students threatened to kill themselves if the body was shifted before the legislators from the T region gave in their resignations. The situation turned more volatile when Venugopals parents, Koti Reddy and Laxmamma, arrived on campus . Students raised slogans demanding ex-gratia for Venugopals family. The situation came under control by afternoon when political JAC members including its convener, Prof M Kodandaram reached the spot and spoke to the students.

ALL TEARS: TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao in tears over the death of MCA student Venugopal Reddy, who committed suicide on OU campus on Tuesday


Telangana Congress leaders are in a catch-22 situation. With the death of a student on the Osmania University campus on Tuesday , the pressure is now mounting on them to press for acceptance of their resignations, despite a directive from the party high command against it. The Osmania University students have kept the body of the student outside the Arts College with a vow that it will be taken from there only after all elected representatives from the region quit their posts. Arts College will become the focal point. And with leaders of the other parties pressing for the acceptance of their resignations , the heat is on us, said a Congress leader.

The pressure is the most on R Damodar Reddy, MLA from Nalgonda district, since the student who committed suicide belonged to the district . The suicide of the student is expected to further worsen the situation for them in Telangana districts if they do not obey the demand from the students . Already, none of the ministers, MLAs are in a position to visit their constituencies. Those who want to tour the districts are doing it clandestinely . If we dont honour the demand of the students to resign, we have to forget our hometowns in the constituencies, lamented a Lok Sabha member from the region.

Ever since TDP leader Nagam Janardhan Reddy was attacked in the Osmania university none of the Congress leaders have been visiting their constituencies fearing attacks from the people. For instance, health minister D Nagender is totally banned from touring the region. On Sunday, when news spread that the minister was attending a function near Bhongir , people stopped all the vehicles that appeared like government vehicles with the intention of attacking the minister in case he ventured out.

On Monday, irrigation minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah had to visit temple town Medaram in his home district Warangal clandestinely to avoid being sighted by separate Telangana activists. Earlier, the vehicles of higher education minister D Sridhar Babu, sports and youth affairs minister Komati Reddy Venkata Reddy were stopped en route their constituencies. On Tuesday, the house of Konda Surekha, MLA from Sayampet in Warangal district, was attacked by students demanding that she exit the Assembly. In all, half a dozen ministers have not visited their constituencies in the past one month. If we dont obey the students, and hide under the pretext that high command is going to announce the road map soon, same fate awaits every MLA, said a Congress leader from Karimnagar district.

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