Hyderabad: YSR Congress Party leaders paid homage to the martyrs and farmers of the Basheer Bagh incident who were killed during the Basheer Bagh agitation held in protest against the reforms and hike in the power sector. The then chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu ordered police firing on the farmers, opposition leaders, and protestors who had congregated there to protest against the power hike.

In the message posted in the YRSCP Twitter, talked about Chandrababu Naidu's dictatorial and anti-farmer rule and the Basheer Bagh event was a grim reminder of his rule. In remembrance of the farmers sacrifice when they had had gathered to protest peacefully against the hike in power tariff , but were killed by the Babu Sarkar ... the Tweet read.

On the fateful day - August 28th, 2000

Nineteen years ago, on this fateful day, three protesters named Ramakrishna, Vishnuvardhan Reddy, Balaswamy were killed in an incident of police firing near Basheer Bagh area in Hyderabad. The opposition parties including the Congress, CPI & CPIM were protesting against the power tariff hike by the then TDP government led by N Chandrababu Naidu.

As the protest was gaining momentum and the protesters were gathering near the Jagjivan Ram statue in Basheerbagh that was about one km from the State Assembly buildings.The Assembly Session was going on that fateful day. The activists, led by BV Raghavulu of CPI(M) and S Sudhakara Reddy of CPI, defied prohibitory orders and tried to break the police cordon to go towards the Assembly.

But, the police tried to push them back and mounted police officers attempted to disperse the crowd. However, eventually they resorted to firing indiscriminately for about 45 minutes. Many people were injured and three people died on that fateful day which is now remembered as a black day on democracy.

The Opposition gave a call for a State-wide bandh to protest against the undemocratic police firing on that day.

Chandrababu Naidu however blamed the “extremist elements” for the violence and criticised the Congress for allowing itself to be led into an alliance” with Marxist- Leninist groups.

People who saw the events unfold on television, described the police firing as “completely undemocratic”, and against “genuine people’s protest”. Leaders from all quarters said that Chandrababu Naidu was making a mistake, if he thinks of suppressing a people’s movement through gun power. S Sudhakara Reddy (CPI) said that the “police response was brutal, instead of indulging in a lathi charge, teargas, water cannons, they straightaway resorted to firing on peaceful demonstrators, aiming at their heads instead of below the knee as required”.

The events which were telecast by the local TV channels, which showed protesters running helter skelter and a constable taking aim to shoot at passersby on the flyover and another constable restraining him from doing so still lingers in people's minds.

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