Several hundred policemen have been deployed in the area, and security has been beefed up.

Opposition parties unite for Chalo Dharna Chowk in Hyderabad Kodandaram goes undergroundFile photo: PTI
news Politics Monday, May 15, 2017 - 08:05

The Hyderabad police are bracing themselves for a massive showdown in and around the area of Indira Park, where the city's 'Dharna Chowk' is situated. 

All Opposition parties in the state have united to organise a 'Chalo Indira Park' rally, that would see protestors marching to the spot, and demanding that it be reopened. 

For over two decades, 'Dharna Chowk' near Indira Park in the heart of the city, has been the main centre for thousands of protests by political parties, people's organisations, employees' unions, students' groups and others.

Opposition parties have been upping the ante, ever since the Telangana government decided to shift the venue for protests to the outskirts of the city in March this year.

The government claimed that there were law and order issues, as Dharna Chowk was close to the state's Secretariat.

However, critics of the move have pointed out that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao himself had held several protests at the spot, while he was part of the Telangana struggle for a separate state.

The Hyderabad police have already stated that there was no permission for a march at Indira Park, and are determined to avoid any untoward situation. 

According to reports, over 1,000 police personnel have been deployed in the radius of the Dharna Chowk, along with barricades and razor wires at all the entry points to the park.

Several trucks have also been kept ready, to quickly detain any dissenters and shift them to police stations. 

In fact, Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) chairman M Kodandaram has gone underground along with some other activists.

In February, the police had taken Kodandaram into preventive custody from his house, in the early hours of the morning, and foiled a rally by the TJAC.

To avoid a similar situation this time, Kodandaram has switched off his phone, and is not reachable.

“TJAC activists along with workers of opposition parties will come in huge numbers to Hyderabad from different parts of the state on Monday to capture the Dharna Chowk as a symbolic protest to force the government to drop its proposal of shifting it to the city’s outskirts,” Kodandaram was quoted as saying, before he went into hiding.

Meanwhile, state Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy told media persons, “It appears CM KCR feels his administration has not been able to deliver the goods. Hence, he is resorting to dictatorial methods to crush dissent. We are not living in Pakistan. India has a democratic tradition. KCR himself said he would stage dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi if the Centre fails to pass Muslim reservation bill. When he wants a venue to stage a protest, why is he against Dharna Chowk.“

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