Bowing to mass pressure and fearing for the detereorating condition of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, on a fast unto death, the central government late Wednesday pledged to form a separate Telangana state carved out of 10 districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Meeting the five-decade long demand of the region that includes Hyderabad, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government said the process for formation of Telangana state would be initiated soon.
After several rounds of meetings of the top brass of the Congress in New Delhi, Home Minister P. Chidambaram announced that a resolution would be moved in the state assembly.
'The process of forming the state of Telangana will be initiated. An appropriate resolution will be moved in the state assembly,' said the statement read out by Chidambaram in New Delhi.
The announcement, which came at the end of a day of hectic developments both in Hyderabad and Delhi, was greeted with joyous scenes here and in nine other districts of Telangana.
The Telangana region has been on the boil as TRS chief's condition had turned critical Wednesday, the 11th day of his fast unto death, and Hyderabad was turned into a fortress by police fearing large-scale violence during the march to assembly planned by TRS and students Thursday.
KCR, who had launched the fast in Khammam jail Nov 29 after his arrest near Karimnagar town, broke the fast at Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) here, capping the 11-day long agitation which saw students, lawyers, government employees, industrial workers and other sections of people taking to the streets demanding a separate state.
Talking to reporters in the intensive care unit of NIMS, KCR broke down while paying tributes to those who laid down their lives for the formation of Telangana.
At least 25 people either committed suicide or died of shock since KCR's arrest.
In 1969, during the agitation for a separate state, 369 people, most of them students had laid down their lives.
KCR, as Chandrasekhar Rao is popularly known, thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and others who supported the Telangana cause.
Outside NIMS, hundreds of TRS activists, students and Telangana sympathisers celebrated the victory by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.
'It is a memorable moment for 3.5 crore people of Telangana. India achieved independence at the stroke of midnight and separate Telangana state has also become a reality at midnight,' said a beaming Manda Krishna Madiga, a backward class leader supporting the movement.
Chidambaram, in his statement, said: 'We have asked the chief minister (K. Rosaiah) to withdraw the cases against leaders, students and others associated with the agitation. The chief minister said he will take necessary action.'
'We are concerned about Chandrasekhara Rao's health and we request him to withdraw the fast. We also request all others, especially students to withdraw the agitation,' he added.
TRS leaders expect Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Rosaiah, on his arrival here, would provide details like when the resolution would be moved in the assembly.
KCR's son K. Tarakarama Rao said he hoped that the Congress would not only move the resolution but take it to the logical conclusion.
'We hope to see a clear road map for formation of Telangana state,' he said.
Students of Osmania University, the nerve centre of the agitation, Kakatiya University in Warangal and other groups fighting for separate state were jubilant.
Hundreds of students at Osmania University were seen dancing and raising slogans of 'Jai Telangana' soon after Chidambaram announced in Delhi that a resolution would be moved in the state assembly.