48 held for vandalising statues of Andhra icons
Telangana activists also attacked photo journalists and crew of television channels.
Hyderabad: The police have arrested 48 people for vandalising statues of prominent Telugu personalities during the Telangana Million March at Tank Bund in Hyderabad.
A day after the Tank Bund of Hussain Sagar Lake in the heart of the city was rocked by violence, senior police officers on Friday visited the area to review the situation.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Akun Sabharwal told reporters that 48 people were taken into custody since Thursday night.
The protesters pulled down 16 statues of Telugu poets, writers, social reformers and leaders and dumped them in the lake. The statues of historic figures belonging to Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh became the target.
The statues of famous Telugu poets Yerrapragada, Sri Sri, Gurram Jashuva, Annamayya and Vemana, the famous king of Vijayanagar empire Srikrishnadevaraya and social reformer Kandukuri Veeresalingam were vandalised.
The police officer suspect that the destruction of the statues was a pre-planned act.
The mob also destroyed the platforms on which the statues were installed and even removed plates carrying their names and brief history.
Some Telangana activists in the past had threatened to destroy the statues as many of them belong to the leaders of Andhra region. When thousands of people gathered Thursday, defying the ban orders, they carried out the threats.
They also attacked photo journalists and crew of television channels when they were capturing their acts on cameras.
The destruction of statues, erected during 1980s by then chief minister N.T. Rama Rao, has evoked strong condemnation from leaders of Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.
A Telangana leader said the incident show the hatred towards leaders of Andhra and he fears more such incidents if the central government further delays the process to carve out separate Telangana state.