Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao stirred a controversy when he threatened to "bury" the media "ten feet under the earth" if they continue to "insult" the newly-carved out state.
Rao, at loggerheads with the Andhra Pradesh government over disbursement of assets and liabilities of the undivided state, also demanded that Telangana "must be respected".
"Those who insult Telangana, its existence and prestige, will be buried 10 feet under the earth," said KCR, as he is popularly known, while addressing a gathering after garlanding a statue of Kaloji Narayana Rao, a renown poet and literary critic, commemorating his birth cennetanry, at Nakkalagutta in the district.
Slamming KCR's statement, senior Congress leader and former Union minister Renuka Chowdhury said that the chief minister should exercise restraint. "He has a false sense of grandeur and has no clue about governance," she said.
KCR's statement came close on the heels of the Association of Telangana Multiple System Operators (cable TV operators) blocking the transmission of TV channels ABN Andhra Jyothi and TV 9 since June 16, alleging that they had aired programmes "denigrating the Telangana dialect, sentiment and feelings" of the people of the state.
"I salute multiple system operators who stopped transmission of the two television channels. If they (TV channels) do not mend their attitude, I will teach them a lesson," the Chief Minister said.
Meanwhile, staff of TV9 and ABN channel waved placards demanding that the ban on their channels be lifted.
Later, police detained about 25 journalists and took them to Subedari police station, from where they were released.
Telangana Assembly had passed a resolution earlier, authorising the Speaker to initiate any action as he deemed fit against TV9 for airing an alleged "objectionable programmes" and "belittling comments" about MLAs.
Rao later laid the foundation stone of the proposed Kaloji Narayana Rao Cultural Centre to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 12 crore on a 3.5-acre plot at Balasamudram.