Tension, protests in Telangana mar Andhra formation dayBy IANS
Monday, November 1, 2010
HYDERABAD - Tension, large scale protests, road blockades and attacks on the houses of ministers and legislators in Telangana marred the 54th Andhra Pradesh formation day celebrations Monday.
Police arrested hundreds of protestors in Hyderabad and other districts as they attempted to disrupt the celebrations in Telangana, where groups fighting for a separate state are observing the anniversary as a ‘black day’.
Tension prevailed in Osmania University here and other parts of Telangana as protestors tried to disrupt the official celebrations.
Police arrested Osmania University students when they tried to march towards Gun Park in the heart of the city. The students were stopped soon after they came out of the campus.
Holding black flags and raising slogans of “Jai Telangana”, the students tried to break the police cordon. Police had to use mild force to control and arrest them.
A group of students also attacked the residence of Congress legislator M. Sashidhar Reddy in Tarnaka. They broke into the house, broke the window panes and damaged some house-hold items. The protestors wanted the legislator to clarify his stand on the Telangana issue.
Protestors led by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) legislator Harish Rao laid siege to the house of Minister for Information and Public Relations J. Geeta Reddy at Maredpally in Secunderabad. They were protesting the participation in the celebrations by Telangana ministers. Police arrested Harish Rao and others.
Osmania University students also tried to stop Chief Minister K. Rosaiah’s convoy at Ameerpet here when he was heading towards NTR Stadium to attend the main official celebrations. Police arrested members of Osmania University Joint Action Committee (JAC), who were demanding that he not celebrate the day in view of the demand for Telangana state.
Rosaiah later hoisted the national flag and reviewed a colourful parade, which was held amid tight security arrangements.
TRS, Telangana Praja Front, all-party Telangana Joint Action Committee, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Telangana leaders of the ruling Congress party and main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have called for a boycott of the celebrations.
Pro-Telangana groups have also called for observing the day as “black day” or “betrayal day”. They had urged the government not to celebrate formation day as this would hurt the sentiments of Telangana people.
Over 200 protestors were arrested in Warangal. Activists of TRS and other parties also hoisted black flags on government buildings.
Educational institutions remained closed in Hyderabad on an appeal by the Osmania University JAC.
JAC convenor M. Kodandaram and other leaders staged road blockade at Abdullahpurmet in Ranga Reddy district on Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway.
Lawyers in Telangana courts staged protests with black flags. MPs of the ruling Congress party from Telangana observed Monday as “betrayal day”.
G. Sukhender Reddy, Madhu Yashki, G. Vivek. M. Jagannatham and other MPs marched up to Gun Park and paid tributes to Telangana martyrs.
Congress legislators from Andhra and Rayalaseema also marched from the assembly to the ‘Telugu talli’ statue. Government whip Shailajanath demanded that formation day be celebrated at Congress headquarters Gandhi Bhavan from next year.
TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu hoisted the national flag at NTR Trust Bhavan, the party headquarters and paid tributes to Telugu leader Potti Sriramulu, who died in December 1952 after a 56-day hunger strike to press the demand for a separate state for Telugus.
On Sep 1, 1953, Telugu-speaking Rayalseema and the coastal Andhra areas of Madras State were separated to form Andhra State with Kurnool as its capital.
It was on Nov 1, 1956 that Telangana, part of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad, was merged with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh, with Hyderabad as its capital.
Alleging injustice to Telangana by successive rulers from Andhra, Telangana groups have been demanding separate statehood for the region for the last four decades.
Telangana comprises 10 districts, including Hyderabad.