The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday shifted a senior officer of the Indian Police Service in Hyderabad after the police conducted lathi-charge against students, who were holding a demonstration to demand a separate Telangana state, at the Osmania University campus. The police's use of violence against the students has been condemned by the Opposition as well as the media and the state human rights commission.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (East Zone) Stephan Ravindra was transferred on Monday evening after state Home Minister P Sabita Indra Reddy threatened to resign from her post to protest the lathi-charge. She had instructed police officials to not use any kind of force against the university students and allow them to meet the leaders of the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti.
On the very first day of the ten-day-old agitation, the police had used lathi-charge at the Osmania University Campus, injuring 50 students.
TRS leaders had alleged that Stephan Ravindra was resorting to the use of force as he belonged to coastal Andhra and was anti-Telangana.
"This is the respect you have for a home minister from Telangana," TRS legislator Harish Rao had admonished the policemen, when he and fellow Member of Legislative Assembly E Rajinder were arrested by the police from the campus today morning. Rao claimed that the police didn't allow him to meet the students even though he had the home minister's permission to do so.
"You are doing this because your chief minister is an Andhrite and your DCP is an Andhrite," alleged Rao.
The situation took an ugly turn later when the police chased the agitating students to the adjoining colony of Manikeshwar Nagar and beat up the locals as well as journalists.
While Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including state president Bandaru Dattatreya and floor leader G Kishan Reddy, staged a dharna to protest against the police action, journalists held a demonstration at the main gate of the state assembly.
Chief Minister K Rosaiah, after hearing the journalists' complaints against the police, assured them that action will be taken against the guilty officials.
Justice Subhashan Reddy, chairman of the state Human Rights Commission, also took strong objection to the police lathi-charge in the campus. On receiving complaints from the students' Joint Action Committee, he visited the scene of the incident and conducted an inquiry.