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    Telangana agitators attack 40 Andhra buses

    HYDERABAD: The Telangana agitation turned violent on Monday with agitators attacking 40 private buses coming from different parts of coastal Andhra to Hyderabad.
    Several passengers and policemen were injured in stone-throwing while some activists received blows in police lathi-charge at different places en route.
    Ever since the Sakala Janula Samme was intensified, police have been arranging escort vehicles for private passenger buses being operated from coastal districts to Hyderabad.
    Buses coming from different places and directions in Andhra stop near Garikapadu on the Andhra side of the border with Telangna.
    The police then allow the buses to move in convoys of 10 to 20 buses each.
    The convoys are escorted by police vehicles with a constable travelling in each bus to thwart any attacks by Telangana activists.
    By 5.30 am on Monday about 40 buses carrying about 2,000 passengers halted as usual at Garikapadu on the Nalgonda- Krishna districts border for escort up to Hyderabad.
    As the convoys began crossing the border, a group of Telangana activists obstructed the buses and asked the drivers to turn the vehicles back.
    They alleged that while Telangana people were fighting for their rights and undergoing hardships, all that the Andhra bus operators were interested in was making profits As they remained adamant and did not allow the buses to move, traffic came to a halt for over a stretch of 2 km.
    Additional forces had to be requisitioned from Krishna and Nalgonda districts to evict and arrest the protesters.
    The first hurdle was, more or less, devoid of violence.
    In what seemed to be a coordinated effort, another group of villagers, enraged over the arrests of their fellow agitators near Garikapadu, obstructed the convoy at Komurabanda village on the Kodada bypass road and again at the Akupamula junction within a distance of about 12 km.
    Lining the highway on both sides, they hurled stones, slippers and some other objects, damaging three buses and injuring a few passengers.
    At least 12 buses were damaged by the time the convoy reached Suryapet, the mid-point between Vijaywada and Hyderabad, though the police were escorting them in three vehicles.
    On being alerted about more possible attacks further up the way, police deployed about 150 men at Nakirekal.
    Undeterred by the police presence, about 100-150 activists led by TRS Politburo member Cheruku Sudhakar broke the windowpanes of 22 buses by hurling stones and thrashing the vehicles with sticks.
    Nakirekal circle inspector Viswa Prasad, who was sitting in a vehicle, was injured when a stone broke the windshield of his vehicle and the glass pieces pierced his face.
    The police then caned the mob. Some of them were taken into custody.
    Meanwhile, the frightened passengers tried to save their lives by ducking under the seats as the mob, armed with sticks and stones, unleashed violence outside.
    Still, they received injuries having been hit by the missiles and the broken pieces of windowpanes. But they could not venture out for first aid either.
    Upon receiving the orders from their higher officials, the police rounded up the trouble- makers at all villages and towns right from Garikapadu to Hyderabad.