Political leaders mobbed at student’s funeral

Hyderabad, February 22: Political leaders faced the ire of the people when they arrived at Nagaram village, near here, to pay homage to Siripuram Yadagiri, the student who died early on Sunday after immolating himself near the Osmania University campus in support of statehood for Telangana.

Angry residents mobbed Telugu Desam MLA M. Mahender Reddy, Congress leader M. Kodanda Reddy and former Telangana Rashtra Samiti legislator T. Harish Rao, questioning their sincerity over the Telangana cause.

Police struggled to protect the leaders from the agitated people, who took out a procession with the body before the cremation.

The entire village wept, recalling the 19-year-old youth’s last words of ‘sacrificing my life for the Telangana cause.’

Investigators feel the immolation was not a sudden decision. The youth purchased petrol at a bunk and carried it in a bottle in his backpack and set himself ablaze after police foiled attempts by students to lay siege to the Assembly on Saturday. He died around 2 a.m. Apprehending violence, police shifted the body through the hospital’s backdoor to the village.

The OU campus remained peaceful even as students took out a candle-lit peace rally. Vice-Chancellor T. Tirupati Rao denied reports that Maoists had entered the campus and that they had a role in the recent disturbances.

Elsewhere in Telangana region, the suicide sparked protests and people’s representatives were mobbed by pro-Telangana students and activists demanding their resignations.

A minister and three legislators, who were visiting their constituencies to participate in official programmes after getting a two-day break from the Assembly session, were among them.

At Zaheerabad in Medak district, Minister for Information and Public Relations J. Geeta Reddy had a bitter experience, as activists obstructed her speech at a meeting of Congress workers. The activists were arrested by police to bring order.

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