Hyderabad: The first-ever Republic Day celebrations held at the Jagtial fort after the formation of the district were marred by about 50 Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists joining the ceremonial parade.
When the tableaux depicting developmental activities were being paraded, the local VHP activists joined the parade, shouting Jai Sriram. Collector A. Sharath took the ‘salute’ from the VHP group.
Aggrieved by this, Muslim youth who were in the galleries took out green flags and surged forward to join the parade. Local Congress legislator T. Jeevan Reddy pacified the Muslim youth.
This was not the only controversy. Collector Sharat said in his address that he would be “ever grateful” to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and would “touch his feet for allowing him to participate in the RD celebrations.”
If this was not shocking enough, IAS official and Metpally sub-collector Musharaf Ali was seen sitting at the feet of Nizamabad MP Kalvakuntla Kavitha while talking to her at the VVIP gallery.
Jagtial, which was part of erstwhile the Karimnagar district, was hived off three months ago, and Mr Sharat took it as a prestige issue to organise the Republic Day festivities at the fort that was abandoned for years. He oversaw the cleaning of the fort and giving it a facelift.
Congress MLA T. Jeevan Reddy questioned the collector and the superintendent of police on how the VHP workers were allowed to take part in the parade. He asked whether Jagtial “was part of a secular country.” According to Mr Jeevan Reddy, after he raised the issue with the district officials, police took a few VHP activists into custody.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Mr Jeevan Reddy said he had walked out of the official function in protest. “I never seen or heard such a blatant breach of secular procedures,” he said....