Jagan plays Telangana card, one injured in firing (Roundup, superseding earlier story)

Hyderabad, May 28 (IANS) One man was critically injured in Andhra Pradesh Friday when violence broke out between supporters and opponents of Congress parliamentarian Y.S.Jaganmohan Reddy as he was taken into preventive custody while on his way to a controversial rally in Warangal in the state’s Telengana region.

Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police R.R.Girish Kumar said that Prabhu, a student and activist of the Ambedkar Students’ Federation, was in critical condition after sustaining two bullet injuries in firing by Jagan’s supporters at Mahbubabad in Warangal district.

‘We mistook him to have succumbed to the injuries. But, his condition is critical,’ Girish Kumar told reporters here.

Earlier, Home Minister P.Sabita Indra Reddy declared that Prabhu died in firing by gunmen of Jagan’s staunch followers, Konda Murali and former minister Surekha, and not in police firing.

Girish Kumar said that the gunmen and police opened fire only after the agitators threw stones at the guest room at Mahbubabad railway station where the couple, both legislators, was waiting to receive Jagan.

He said a total of nine people, including Prabhu, were injured in the firing and all were being treated at different hospitals. A total of seven cases have been registered and 129 people protesting Jagan’s visit to Warangal taken into custody, he added.

Jagan was taken into preventive custody at Vangapalli in Nalgonda district, was taken to Hyderabad and set free on a personal bond, the police chief said.

The rally was part of a state-wide tour planned by Jagan to console family members of those who committed suicide or died of shock following the death of his father, then chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, in a helicopter crash last year.

Supporters of Jagan and Telengana statehood have called for separate shutdowns Saturday. The Kadapa district Congress Committee is also organising a shutdown to protest Jagan’s detention.

The Telangana political parties joint action committee plans a shutdown in entire Telengana region of the state to condemn the firing against its supporters. Students’ Joint Action Committees of Osmania University and Kakatiya University, both of which are in Telengana region, extended support to the protest.

Meanwhile, Visakhapatnam, Krishna, Guntur, Anantapur, Chittoor and Kadapa districts in Andhra region of the state saw widespread protests by Jagan’s fsupporters following his detention.

Telangana activists also held demonstrations and burnt Jagan’s effigy at Osmania University as well as in Karimnagar, Warangal, Nalgonda and Nizamabad districts in Telengana region.

To prevent Jagan from reaching Warangal by train, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) activists and others seeking a separate Telangana state had blocked railway tracks. This forced the railway authorities to stop the train. Several other trains were also held up.

Like his father, Jagan is also opposed to the demand for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh while the TRS is fighting for a separate Telangana state.

Jagan was stranded at Vangapalli for three hours while his supporters waiting at nearby Mahbubabad station clashed with Telangana supporters, police said.

High drama preceded Jagan’s detention. As soon as he began the train journey to Mahbubabad in Warangal district, TRS activists and various other Telangana forums came onto the streets to protest his entry.

A group calling itself Telangana Liberation Army came into existence Thursday and issued a statement that it had planted seven bombs on the railway tracks on Jagan’s route. However, police dismissed the claim.

With violence erupting in Mahbubabad, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah met the home minister and the police chief, where it was decided to take Jagan into custody.

Within minutes of Jagan’s detention, Konda Surekha swallowed what she said were sleeping pills in front of the media at Mahbubabad. She was shifted to a nearby hospital.

Another Jagan supporter and legislative council member P. Padmavathi fainted. She too was admitted to hospital.

Jagan told reporters at the Vangapalli railway station that TRS leaders deliberately instigated violence at Mahbubabad to spoil his programme. He said he would return to Warangal to meet members of the bereaved families.

‘They died after coming to know about YSR’s death. It’s my duty to pay them tribute,’ he said as police escorted him back to Hyderabad.