Saturday, 3 March 2012

Campaign against bandhs: Students offer pooja to APSRTC buses to highlight the crime of burning buses during agitations

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Vexed by frequent bandhs and burning of APSRTC
buses during agitations, about 300 engineering students from the city
have launched a novel protest to mobilise public support against
leaders, who frequently give bandh calls.

The students of final year B.Tech drawn from different colleges took a
priest to Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station and offered a special pooja to
the buses parked there. The priest recited Vedic hymns while the
students offered flowers to the vehicles. The police and passengers
present there watched this novel event with surprise, even as the
students heaped praises on the buses for “selflessly and unfailingly
meeting the needs of the common man”. They described buses as
incarnation of gods.

The priest broke coconuts and offered theertham to the students and
passengers. Later, the students garlanded the buses. They also
distributed the prasadam. The students told the passengers that though
anti-social elements are involved in organizing bandhs and attacks on
buses, the student community largely gets the blame. Similar campaigns
are planned in other cities of the State.

“Our campaign is two-fold: to create awareness among people against
bandhs and fight against those who damage buses during agitations.
Students have lost almost two months this academic year due to bandhs.
Bandhs may serve the purpose of politicians, but students and the
general public is put to a lot of inconvenience,” said final year
B.Tech student AK Jampanna.

Jampanna and other students met over a social networking site to float
a platform (Youth Benevolent Society) against bandhs and burning of
buses. On the Bhogi day last month, the engineering students held
their first demonstration against bandhs by holding mass campfires.
Offering pooja to buses is the second in the series. Next week, they
plan another campaign against bandhs.

Referring to the pooja for buses, Jampanna said “buses are damaged or
set on fire during every agitation. Agitators target buses though they
know that the vehicles play a key role in the life of the daily wage
earners and people living in rural areas, who frequent to nearby urban
areas for a living. We want to draw the attention of people that
burning or damaging buses will only harm the economy”.

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