PEOPLE’S anger against the burdens being heaped on them in the form of higher power tariffs and cut backs in subsidies found resonant expression during the 48 hour long picketing of district collectorate offices by CPI(M). Thousands of people picketed the collectorate offices right in the morning office hours on December 10 and 11, leading to closure of the offices for some time. In few places, the police resorted to brutal lathicharge, injuring scores of activists. In Karimnagar, one activist was seriously injured on the head while in Nizamabad, limbs of two activists were broken and they had to be hospitalised. CPI(M) central committee member S Veeraiah also suffered injuries in the police lathicharge in Nizamabad. In Srikakulam, senior leader of the Party, Choudhary Tejeswara Rao was injured in the police action.
Over five thousand Party activists, including top state leadership, were arrested by the police in these two days of protests. Such massive protests on people’s issues across the length and breadth of the state has occurred after a long time. The state is being crisscrossed by leaders of TDP, YSRCP and Congress hurling abuses at each other and raking up non-issues. The media too has only highlighted these superficial controversies rather than the struggles at ground level. The brutality of police action in many districts showed the jittery reaction of the ruling party at the growing anger of people being channelised into organised protests.
The CPI(M) state committee had identified issues such as severe power cuts, burden of fuel surcharge adjustment on power consumers, payment of minimum wages, contract workers issues, lacunae in construction of Indiramma houses, pensions, cuts in subsidies etc and called for two day picketing to protest against the state government’s apathy in solving pressing issues facing the people. Speaking to media persons before being arrested by the police in front of Hyderabad district collectorate, Party state secretary B V Raghavulu said this is only the beginning of the struggles, which would be intensified in the coming period. He said the common man is being severely assaulted by both the central and state governments by their policy decisions. There was scuffle when the police tried to whisk away Raghavulu even as he was speaking to mediapersons and Party activists tried to prevent the arrest. The activists sat on the main road and blocked the traffic protesting the police action.
The CPI(M) state committee in a statement strongly condemned the high handed behaviour of the police in many districts during the picketing. Using brutal force on peacefully protesting activists was reprehensible, it stated. Over seven activists were injured in the lathicharge in Karimnagar, including three whose heads were broken. It warned the government about intensifying these protests in the coming period.