Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Telangana struggle novel moments: Telangana agitators turn railway tracks into make-shift habitaitons

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 1: The railway track is one thing that people are always cautious of trespass. But on Tuesday, hundreds of kilometres of railway tracks wore a rather festive look with make-shift tents and impromptu community kitchens springing up all along in Telangana.
Students appeared for pre-final examinations sitting on railway tracks, while T-protagonists entertained people with T-songs, filmi numbers and Batakamma dances. In some places, people from the entire village were seen doing their daily chores on the railway tracks, while a few enthusiast youths seized the opportunity to play cricket. The agitation turned into fun and frolic for many, particularly students and youths.
Villagers were seen playing cards right on the railway tracks at dozens of railway stations. Kolatam (dandia) was played to enthuse the agitators, while bullock carts and cattle were put across the tracks. The elderly pitched in cots to take the afternoon nap. Women with babies in their laps too demonstrated at several places.
TRS legislator K Taraka Rama Rao played volleyball at Moulali railway station in the city, while his sister and Telangana Jagruti Samiti president K Kavita played Bathakamma. Maoist leader Sambasivudu regaled the agitators with his presence. Even before the sunrise, thousands of people were on the railway tracks in response to the TRS call of "Palle palle pattala paiki" (villages on the tracks) in support of the demand for separate Telangana state.
With trains going off the roads, the usually busy level crossings in Hyderabad, Warangal, Mahboobnagar, Nalgonda, Adilabad, Nizamabad and Karimnagar wore a deserted look. There were no traffic jams at these crossings.
In railway stations, the TV sets there came handy for people to watch the world cup and spend the time debating whether the Centre government would concede to the demand of separate Telangana State. Telangana "dhoom dham" was observed in all the T districts to mobilise people's support for the T cause.
Perhaps it is the first time in the last 35 years that the railway tracks in a large portion of Andhra Pradesh went without trains. The South Central Railway has withdrawn train services originating or terminating in Telangana region, while it has diverted several long distance trains via alternative routes.
At Ramannapet railway station in Nalgonda, T agitators stopped Narayanadri express. Students of local schools and colleges appeared for pre-final examinations. Tents were pitched up between Bibinagar and Nadigudi to cook food for the agitators.
At Srirampuram railway station in Nalgonda district, artisans showcased their trades. TJAC convener Prof Kodanda Ram cooked food at Gatkesar and served the agitators.

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