KTR averts August 2000 Basheerbagh mayhem

Hyderabad: The capital city of Hyderabad would, on Tuesday, have witnessed a repeat of the infamous August 2000 Basheerbagh mayhem but for the timely intervention and deft handling of the crisis by TRS working president and IT minister K.T. Rama Rao.

Hundreds of village revenue assistants (VRAs), who have been seeking job security and enhancement of pay-scales, breached the heaviest security cordon and entered into the Assembly while it was in session.

It was a rude shock to the lawmakers as the large number of protesters surged towards the Assembly and some even managed to enter its premises, raising serious doubts over the efficacy of intelligence gathering.

The VRAs protest brought back the memories of August 28, 2000, when police fired at protesters in an anti-power tariff hike rally, killing four. Some 200 people including several policemen were injured in the violence that broke out following the caning of protesters by the police.

As the crowds started swelling, the police cane-charged VRAs, many of them women. Meanwhile, city police commissioner C.V. Anand is said to have briefed Rama Rao about the situation going out of control and sought to know if the agitating VRAs could be engaged in a dialogue.

Rama Rao immediately invited the representatives of VRAs’ joint action committee to his chambers in the Assembly. Around 15 representatives of VRAs held talks with the minister for 45 minutes.

After giving them a patient hearing, Rao assured the VRAs that the state government would consider their demands on pay scale and job security positively but sought time till September 18 to hold the next round of talks.

The minister urged them to withdraw their strike and join duties immediately, saying the entire government machinery will be engaged with the September 17 celebrations for three days from September 16 to 18. He assured them that chief secretary Somesh Kumar will hold talks with VRAs after September 18.

Rama Rao told VRAs Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao already promised in the Assembly on Monday that the government will consider their demands positively and there was no need for a strike on this issue.

A media statement from the minister later said the VRAs were satisfied with the talks and agreed to end their protests.

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