WARANGAL: Lunavath Bhojya Naik was cremated in his native village in Raghunathapally mandal on Sunday even as there was a total shutdown in Warangal district due to protests over the self-immolation by the MBA student for the separate statehood cause.
Naik set himself on fire at Hanamkonda on Saturday to protest against the delay in the granting of separate statehood to Telangana. The latest in a long series of suicides for the Telangana cause comes close on the heels of byelections to six Assembly seats in the region which proved to be a vote for the separate statehood demand.
Naik's funeral procession, attended by hundreds of students and political leaders, was marred by stray incidents of violence as protesters pelted stones at the houses of ministers, Congress leaders and the Congress party office. They also similarly attacked the statues of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and ex-chief minister NT Rama Rao at the MGM Hospital junction.
Enraged students attacked the houses of minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, TDP leader Errabelli Dayakar Rao and government chief whip Gandra Venkatramana Reddy. Three photographers belonging to vernacular dailies were injured during the course of the attacks which soon had police resorting to a lathicharge to bring the situation under control. Earlier, protesters rained stones on Dayakar Rao's brother Pradeep Rao when he came to the hospital to pay homage to Naik. The former PRP leader was forced to beat a hasty retreat.
Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) chairman M Kodandaram, TRS legislators Jupally Krishna Rao, Etela Rajender, Harish Rao and Nagarkurnool MLA Nagam Janardhan Reddy took part in the funeral procession. Slogans like 'Telangana drohulara khabardar' rent the air during the procession.
Telangana JAC leaders said that the suicide should be an eye-opener for all the MPs from the region. The leaders demanded that a case be registered against Gandra for the inflammatory statements made by him. Naik's final rites were performed in his native Veerareddy thanda in Ashwaraopally village. TRS MLAs T Rajaiah, D Vinaya Bhaskar, TRS district convener Peddi Sudarshan Reddy and thousands of TRS workers took part in the last rites.
The political JAC has called for the effigies of Congress and TDP leaders to be burnt in all 10 districts of the region on Monday and urged people to hold candlelight rallies on Tuesday. Shops, hotels, petrol bunks, cinema halls and roadside eateries in the district were closed on Sunday. On the Mahabubabad-Warangal highway, it was CPI workers who burnt tyres and staged a road block which saw them being taken into custody by police who later released the activists in the evening.