Many parts of Telangana regions erupted into violence as the police foiled the attempt of Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K Chandrasekhar Rao to go on a fast-unto-death by arresting him on Sunday.
As the police took him into custody in Karimnagar amid high drama, his supporters all over the region, especially the university students, hit the streets, pelted stones on the police and targeted public property.
In Hyderabad, a TRS activist and Gandhi Medical College student Srikant immolated himself at LB Nagar and was admitted to a local hospital in a serious condition.
As the news of KCR's arrest and foiling of his fast unto death spread, hundreds of party workers and support came out on the roads in Medak, Karimnagar, Warangal, Nizamabad and Adilabad district blocking the roads, shouting slogans, pelting stones on buses and government property.
Tension spread throughout the region, where the security was already tightened and thousands of police personnel were deployed by the government fearing trouble by the TRS. The government had imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 in all the nine districts of Telangana region two days ago banning the gathering of more than four people.
In Hyderabad, nearly 4,000 students gathered at the Osmania University campus, where a large contingent of police was deployed to maintain peace. The situation took an ugly turn when students started pelting stones.
The police was forced to resort to lathicharge and beat up several students after chasing and cornering them.
A student received 28 lathi blows from several policemen, said sources.
The injured students were shifted to hospital in ambulances as other students threatened to commit suicide. One of the students even poured kerosene on his body threatening to immolate himself, but was overpowered by the police.
Several TRS activists including its senior legislator T Harisha Rao attempted self-immolation in protest.
The TRS has given a call for Telangana bandh on Monday.
Several student organisations, including the Telangana Vidhyarthy Sangam and Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti, have announced their support to the strike call.
"The time has come for all the people of Telangana to unite for the cause of Telangana state," said KCR's son K Taraka Rama Rao, who was arrested in Warangal.
Two buses were set on fire in the outskirts of Hyderabad and Warangal district. Students of Kakatiya University in Warangal, Palmuru University in Mehbubnagar and Telangna University in Nizamabad also held demonstrations.
KCR's nephew Harish Rao took over the fast after his arrest in Siddipet. But the police raided the hunger strike camp and took Harish and others into custody.
High drama was witnessed as Harish then tried to pour kerosene on himself, but other TRS leaders and workers stopped him.
Former MLAs Ramalinga Reddy and Padma Devender Reddy were also arrested along with him.
Traffic was hit in all parts of Telangana region, as TRS workers blocked the National highways number 7 and 9 in Adilabad, Nizamabad, Medak, Nalgonda and Khammam. The police took hundreds of workers into custody.
Strongly condemning the arrest of KCR, Telangana ideologue Prof Jayshankar Krishna said the government would be responsible for its repercussions. "We can not say anything about the consequences of the brutal attack on the students of Osmania University. As the Britishers were forced to quit India, the feudal rulers of Andhra will also have to quit Telangana," he said.
Professor Jayashankar, who was arrested in Warangal, said that KCR's fast-unto-death was a new milestone in the long struggle for Telangana state.
"This is neither the beginning nor the end but it has added a new chapter to the struggle. We have succeeded in demonstrating the yearning of the people of Telangana for separate state," he said.
Image: Police arrest TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao| Photograph: SnapsIndia