Fresh Telangana stir over studentís death

The mysterious death of MCA student K Venugopal Reddy on Tuesday coupled with the suicide by K Suvarna, a first year B.Sc student in Mahbubnagar, has provided the Joint Action Committee of Telangana Students a pretext to revive the agitation for a separate state.

Reddy, a final year MCA student of Lalita College in Gatkeshwar on the outskirts of Hyderbad, was found behind the Osmania University auditorium on Tuesday. The JAC claimed that Reddy had immolated himself in protest against the delay in creating a separate state. There was a partial shutdown in Hyderabad and other parts of the region following a bandh call given by the JAC .

Police fired teargas shells and caned students who wanted to carry Reddy's body in a procession to the Martyrs' Memorial at Gun Park near the Secretariat where Chief Minister K Rosaiah was holding a conference of district collectors. Students tried to prevent the body from being taken for last rites, leading to another round of clashes between Rapid Action Force personnel and students leaving many injured.

But the police are not buying the claim that Reddy immolated himself in protest against the delay in declaring Telangana a separate state. "It can be accepted that a student of a college at the other end of the city came to Osmania University (OU) campus and stayed back. But if he wanted to immolate himself in favour of Telangana why would he do it secretly behind the auditorium where no one would notice him? Secondly, though the burns are ante-mortem, a suicide or immolation victim would not be charred beyond recognition. We suspect that he was either in a semi-conscious or in an inebriated state when the burns occurred. It is not yet clear whether it is a case of suicide or murder," said an officer monitoring the case.

Venugopal had called his brother on Monday evening saying he was staying with a friend at the OU. His friends are being questioned on why they did not inform his family or the police when Reddy went missing. But the police have decided not to pursue the case for the time being or oppose the students' claim that it was a suicide over the Telangana issue.

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