A report by Bittu
Massive repression marked the march, organized by 372 organizations together towards Assembly from Sunderaiyyah Vignana Kendram at 10 am against the torture and fake encounter killing of two Maoist cadre in Warangal. One of them, a woman comrade, also showed signs of having been subjected to sexual violence. Varalakshmi, Secretary of Revolutionary Writers Association was placed under house arrest the afternoon before the march. Students of Telangana Vidyarthi Sangathan and Democratic Students Union who were campaigning for the Chalo Assembly March in Osmania University the night before the March were arrested at night. Several people were placed under house arrest on the morning of the march.
Thousands of people were picked up at train and bus stations on the way to Hyderabad, mostly even before they made it to the district train/bus station. The site of the dharna was cordoned off with barricades and all groups of people approaching it were arrested; there was also a brutal lathi charge and protesters were also thrashed in police vans. Only 4 people were exempt from detention: Prof. Haragopal, who was told by police that they had strict instructions not to detain him – even though he courted arrest; Kodand Ram and two other prominent Telangana statehood figures were informally policed but not formally arrested. This was a clever attempt by the KCR government to salvage its image given that everyone involved with the Telangana statehood movement had denounced the fake encounter and torture. In total, Civil Liberties Committee estimated 15,000 people were arrested across the state.
We were detained all day and released late in the evening. One person Com. Mahesh was picked up again after being released, and taken for a 3 hour ride around the city in the way people are often driven elsewhere before being killed in a fake encounter, while being intimidated all the way. Several individuals were targetted and incarcerated separately. While CPI, CPM and several other organizations’ members were all arrested in this massive dharna, there was a clear difference between how their cadre were treated and those from the radical left. There was a lot of media coverage and along with the farmer suicide issue burning up Telangana, the KCR government’s credibility in bringing ‘Bangara Telangana’ – Golden Telangana – was severely damaged.