Hyderabad: Hyderabad resembled a war zone Friday as police sealed all routes leading to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly to foil the "chalo assembly" march called by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) to demand a separate Telangana state.
The city is on edge as the JAC is determined to go ahead with its march, defying prohibitory orders, while the police have thrown a thick security blanket around the Assembly and are keeping a tight vigil at all entry points into the city to stop protestors coming in from other parts of Telangana.
Normal life in parts of Hyderabad came to a standstill with police shutting down five flyovers and several roads within two-km-radius of the Assembly.
A group of students, raising slogans of "Jai Telangana", tried to rush towards the Assembly building early Friday, but were arrested by the police.
About 15,000 policemen and personnel from central paramilitary forces have been deployed as part of the massive security arrangements. Armed security personnel continued their vigil through the night.
Only legislators, officials and media personnel were allowed to proceed towards assembly Friday morning.
The usually busy roads around the assembly wore a deserted look. There were policemen everywhere, diverting vehicular traffic.
Police entered the office of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and arrested 30 leaders and activists. A party leader was also injured in baton charge by the police.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma said 60 people were arrested since early Friday. The police refused permission for the march in view of the apprehension of violence and intelligence reports that Maoists may join the protestors.
JAC has called upon people to gather at Indira Park, about three km from the assembly. However, a large number of policemen were deployed at the park to stop any gathering.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislator Harish Rao said the march would be organised at any cost. "These security arrangements and the arrest of hundreds of our activists show the strong public sentiment for a separate state. This is proof of the success of our protest," he said.
TRS, CPI, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and several other political and non-political outfits are part of JAC, which is spearheading the Telangana movement.
Schools and colleges in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad remained closed. Police have imposed prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons and have ordered shutdown of all liquor shops, bars and pubs in Hyderabad and Cyberabad police commissionerates.
Almost all Multi Modal Transport System (MMTS) or suburban trains have been cancelled while some trains coming to Hyderabad from other parts of Telangana were either cancelled or terminated on the city outskirts. The authorities have also diverted the buses of the state-owned Road Transport Corporation.
Tension prevailed at Osmania University for the third consecutive day as police sealed the campus to prevent students from taking out a rally. The students clashed with police on Wednesday and Thursday.
In Telangana districts, police continued to arrest hundreds of people. Police were checking vehicles heading towards Hyderabad.