On Friday morning, a group of 400-500 youngsters marched into the Secunderabad railway station in the heart of the greater Hyderabad city. What started as a protest against the implementation of Agnipath scheme in the three wings of the defense services soon took a violent turn. Groups of protesters started vandalising the property with sticks and bare hands. They also attacked the stalls on the platform and set fire to railway bogies on tracks in quick succession even as an outnumbered and unprepared railway and local police looked on.
Later, a large contingent of Telangana Police and Railway Police resorted to lathi-charge and opened fire to disperse the crowd. After some unsuccessful attempts and warnings, the forces again opened fire which left one person dead and multiple injured. By afternoon, the situation was brought under control.
The deceased has been identified as 24-year-old D. Rakesh who was preparing for Army recruitment tests. A native of Dabeerpet village in Warangal district, Rakesh had come down to Hyderabad to prepare for the exams.
According to B. Raju, Sarpanch of Dabeerpet village. Rakesh was a regular person with no history of any anti-social activity. “He was very serious about joining the Army. His parents are farmers. They are in inconsolable now and we are taking them to Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad. Some of the boys from the village who are in Hyderabad has identified his body.”
A video clip of an injured protestor in a blood stained shirt is doing the rounds. In the video, the youngster who claims to have sustained bullet injury says police would be responsible if he dies.
There are multiple versions of how the crowd gathered at the station at a particular time. According to one version, some of the students who were protesting were part of WhatsApp groups for those preparing for defence exams. There were messages in these groups about the time of the protests.
There were also allegations of political parties infiltrating the groups and provoking the mob.
Due to the violence, there was a disruption in train services as a number of trains were diverted and Hyderabad metro rail service too was suspended.