Violence rocked Osmania University again on Monday morning as police teargassed students trying to take out a rally while another group of students began an indefinite fast demanding immediate carving of separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh.
Police burst teargas shells as students, angered at being prevented from taking out a motorbike rally to Raj Bhavan, pelted stones on the constabulary at the main gate of the university. Police also arrested several students for defying ban on any gathering of five or more people.
Tension grew on the campus as dozens of students launched an indefinite fast at the Arts College despite arrests of students in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana.
The Osmania campus turned into a battlefield for the fourth time in a week as students clashed with police. Armed policemen were seen chasing stone pelting students around the campus.
Police continued to arrest dozens of students reaching Osmania University from different parts of the city and other districts. The university was under police siege since Sunday night to foil the indefinite fast.
Police have since Sunday night also arrested some leaders of the Osmania University Joint Action Committee (OU JAC), the committee said.
Preventive arrests of students were also made in Warangal, Karimnagar, Nalgonda and other towns to stop them from proceeding to Hyderabad. Protesting what they called the highhanded attitude of police, students of Kakatiya University in Warangal also launched indefinite fast.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader E. Rajender alleged that hundreds of students were arrested in all 10 districts of Telangana.
Despite the police crackdown, the OU JAC succeeded in pitching a tent in front of the Arts College and launching the fast at 11 a.m.
Political JAC convenor M. Kodandaram and some other leaders also managed to reach the venue but other political leaders were arrested at the main gate while trying to enter the university.
The sprawling university campus was under siege by the police and central paramilitary forces, who have sealed all the routes leading towards the campus to scuttle OU JAC plans.
Tension also prevailed in surrounding areas as police erected barricades and carried out checks of vehicles.
The OU JAC had announced plans to launch the mass fast with 10,000 students. The political JAC and various groups fighting for a separate Telangana state have declared their support to the fast.
However, Hyderabad Police Commissioner A.K. Khan said there was no permission for the programme. He also banned the entry of outsiders into the campus on the ground that there are orders from the Supreme Court.
The police chief pointed out that prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people are also in force in the city.
Osmania University is the nerve centre of the Telangana agitation and has witnessed clashes between students and police since the latest phase of the agitation began earlier this month.(IANS)