The tension between employees of Seemandhra and Telangana in various government offices of Hyderabad continues with protests being held on a daily basis. The latest showdown took place at Vidyut Soudha which houses the APTransco (Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Ltd). Employees of both regions were holding parallel protests on the office premises. In the melee, a Telangana employee was reportedly pushed and injured. TRS MLA Harish Rao tried to barge into the premises to show his support to the employees but was stopped by the police on the ground that his visit would escalate tensions. Protesting the police action, Harish Rao and some other TRS leaders sat down on the road and raised slogans against Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. Harish Rao terms Kiran Kumar the "chairman" of the United Andhra Pradesh movement and DGP Dinesh Reddy its "convener". Kiran Kumar Reddy is acting as the chairman of Samaikhya Andhra movement. If people in Andhra agitate, they are treated with kid gloves. But if we want to comfort Telangana employees, we are arrested," Harish Rao says to elaborate upon his point. In the Secretariat, employees have been issued orders by Chief Secretary P K Mohanty to not use any type of public address system, play drums or games or indulge in other activities which disturb the atmosphere.
Fast & Loose
YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is fasting in jail and the state government is doing its best to scuttle any media focus on the issue. For one, Jagan is being denied any mulakats [meetings] in jail for violating prison rules in launching his fast. Secondly, despite demands of YSR Congress leaders, prison officials are not releasing any health bulletins on Jagan. "He is healthy but has been refusing food," is all that Jail superintendent B Saidaiah has to say. Officials are even exploring the option of imposing a year's jail term on Jagan for defying prison rules. Jagan's fast in support of the Seemandhra agitation is also meant to galvanize cadre who've been missing their leader sorely. The Kadapa MP has spent around 15 months in jail so far and his charismatic leadership is the mainstay of the party. His sister Sharmila's padayatra did help boost spirits among cadre but after the UPA's decision to concede Telangana, the YSRC has been feeling rudderless. Since Jagan has clearly announced his United AP stance, many senior leaders feel his fast will add the much-needed zing to the party.
Can people sleeping on the footpath be targets for shooting practice? Horrific as it sounds, this is what happened in Hyderabad recently. A 60-year-old cobbler who was sleeping on the footpath at Leelanagar road opposite Country Club in the city was shot dead in his sleep. Police officials suspect that a drunken killer had fired his .32 mm pistol to test his weapon. Relatives of the cobbler say Ashok was an alcoholic who spent all his money to cater to his addiction. They wonder how anyone could be so cruel so as to fire on a sleeping man. Two businessmen brothers Varun and Arun Solanki, who both have .32 mm pistols and drove past the road at the time of the murder are under the police scanner. Arun Solanki was previously arrested by the police when he fired his pistol in the air following an altercation at an apartment in S R Nagar area. He secured bail in the case. Apart from these two brothers, 200 others have already been questioned by the police. Investigators state that the pistol was fired at close range and death was not instant for the cobbler. He must have been alive for an hour or so and would have survived had he been shifted to a hospital, say officials. Death was slow and painful for the cobbler who eventually bled to his death.
Divide and Merge?
TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao who is in Delhi for the Parliament session has summoned his party MLAs ostensibly to refute the Seemandhra lobby's gathering arguments against bifurcation. They will present their own arguments on the status of Hyderabad, river water and power sharing. But it appears that KCR is also trying to gather the support of his MLAs for a possible merger with the Congress. Backdoor talks are said to be on in this regard. UPA chief Sonia Gandhi's sudden hospitalisation might delay talks in this regard but the TRS chief is said to be undecided on the merger. For one, the delay in the starting the process of bifurcation and secondly, the institution of the A K Antony committee which is hearing the grievances of the Seemandhra lobby. But KCR, being the shrewd politician that he is, is singing praises of the Food Security Bill and making all the right noises in Delhi. As for the merger, time will tell.
Not Quite IPL
Badminton aces Saina Nehwal and Jwala Gutta's very public spat on Twitter over Saina's comments on Indonesian player Taufiq Hidayat faded after Saina declared that her comments were misconstrued. Saina had criticised the controversial and stylish player Hidayat for blasting the IBL auctions because his price was lowered. Saina said he was a retired player and should not be expecting more. Jwala, who's never shared a good equation with Saina or her coach Pullela Gopichand, blasted her on Twitter saying Saina should learn to respect senior players. She called Hidayat the Sachin Tendulkar of India and advised Saina to speak with restraint. Evidently, Saina later thought the better of her comments. At a recent press meet in the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, Saina tried to brush off her remarks. Her Hyderabad Hotshots teammate Hidayat was also present by her side and said he would like to leave the incident behind. But a knee injury has ruled out Hidayat for the rest of the current Indian Badminton League season. Hyderabad Hotshots is now hunting for a replacement and has even contacted Indonesian singles player Alamshah Younis. But Younis has said no. "After the initial hype, some of the foreign players are realising that IBL is not quite in the same league as IPL," says a senior badminton player from the city. "Very few people really follow badminton and the broadcast of IBL matches on DD Sports is not helping matters," says the former player. Meanwhile, Jwala Gutta voiced her anger at a Bangalore crowd for taunting her during a mixed doubles match. The crowd apparently hooted and passed lewd remarks at her which made the doubles player see red and complain to officials.
Jwala seems to have a chip on her shoulders where Saina is concerned and therefore "burns" whenever Saina shines. Her spontaneous defense of Hidayath was unwarranted as it seemed to have erupted more out of a desire to attack Saina than to defend him. Besides, Saina was right and Jwala wrong.
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