Even after turning entire Telangana region into an open jail, detaining more than a lakh people amd the police virtually laying siege to Hyderabad, the Andhra government could not stop the inevitable. Though a million people could not converge, at the end of day the Million March in support of Telangana state proved to be a big success.
Breaking all the barricades, jumping over the barbed wire fencings and facing the brute force of the police and the paramilitary, Telangana supporters walked for several kilometres to gather at the Tank Bund of Hussain Sagar lake in the heart of the city and took a collective pledge to achieve their goal.
Following the massive clamp down and the closure of all the major roads of Hyderabad, cancellations of three dozen trains, diversion of traffic, the city roads wore a deserted look and ordinary people suffered a lot of hardship. But as the day progressed, hordes of people reached the Tank Bund. The first group of agitators pushed back the police, pulled down the iron barricades and removed the barbed wire to make the way for those followed.
Hundreds of policemen along with the Rapid Action Force and AP Special Police could only silently watch as the crowds took control of the Tank Bund area.
In less than two hours,the entire stretch of Tank Bund was brimming with more than 50,000 people shouting slogans of Jai Telangana, dancing to the tunes of revolutionary songs of Ghaddar and playing different games. There were young boys, women and old people, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and all other communities. Groups of doctors rubbed shoulders with the drivers and coal miners. Lawyers in black coats took out their own procession.
In a reflection of the angry mood of the ordinary people of Telangana, two Congress MPs K Keshav Rao (Rajya Sabha) and Madhu Yashki were attacked when they reached Tank Bund to show their solidarity. Keshav Rao's car was damaged and Yashki was physically assaulted. Both of them had to leave the place under police protection.
Yashki said that he had no hard feeling towards the Telangana supporters who had attacked him because he understands their feelings. Congress MLAs from Telangana, who had announced their support for the Million March did not attend the program.
The angry crowds also pulled down the statues of several historical, religious and literary figures belonging to coastal Andhra, which dot the Tank Bund. Strangely the police, which managed to arrest all the top leaders of Telangana movement including the Telangana Joint Action Committee convenor Professor Kodanda Ram and more than fifty Telangana MLAs of Telangana Rashtriya Samiti and the Telegu Desam Party, could not stop the ordinary people.
However Bharatiya Janata Party MLA G Kishan Reddy, Telangana Jagruti president Kavita, and Movement for Peace and Justice president Hamid Mohammed Khan were among the notables who reached the venue dodging the police.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti president and the key architect of the movement K Chandrasekhar Rao also reached the venue at around 1500 hrs and participated in the program.
Prof Kodanda Ram was arrested outside the new MLAs quarters when he was going towards Tank Bund an MLA's car. The police deflated the car's tyres to arrest him.
TRS MLAs including E Rajinder, T Harish Rao and K Taraka Rama Rao were chased and arrested when they came out of the state assembly.
TDP's MLAs from Telangana including Nagam Janardhan Reddy were also arrested afte they came out of assembly in a procession.
Though the police and the security forces had sealed the roads in all the Telangana districts as well as Hyderabad, people from far off places including Adilabad and Karimnagar reached the venue of the Million March.
The day was marred by stray incidents of violence including stone pelting in the Osamania University campus where students clashed with he police and the paramilitary forces. AP Special Police personnel wearing the protective gear fired tear gas shells and stones on the students who were trying to take out the procession from the university.
Prof Kodanda Ram, who was released from police custody in the evening described the event as a major success. "If the state government had acted wisely and granted permission to program, all the tension and the problems could have been avoided", he said.
"By gathering in such a large number despite the police repression, the people of Telangna have delivered their verdict. Now it is for the central government to read the writing on the wall and bring a bill in Parliament immediately for the formation of Telangana state", he said.