Telangana supporters observe 48-hr bandh

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 01, 2012 18:35 hrs

Hyderabad, Oct 1 (IBNS) After protests on Sunday that turned violent, the supporters of Telangana under the banner of Joint Action Committee (JAC) are observing a shutdown on Monday that affected normal life in Andhra Pradesh and its capital Hyderabad.

The strike by JAC came on the day of commencement of an important UN event in the city.

Hyderabad is hosting the UN Convention on Biodiversity with about 8000 delegates from 193 countries participating in the event at Hitex near hitech city.

Police said all efforts are made to ensure that the event passed off peacefully.

On Sunday, a mega rally to intensify demand for a separate Telangana state turned unruly and violent with police using teargas shells, water cannons and batons to control the gathering while many protesters resorted to arson and squatted on the venue by the Hussain Sagar lake beyond the stipulated hours late in the night.

Several vehicles, including those belonging to police and TV channels (OB Vans), were damaged by the protesters.

"We just wanted some restrictions, but they just did not follow them," said Hyderabad police commissioner Anurag Sharma as the protest only allowed only from 3 pm to 7 pm.

He said 25 policemen were injured while several of their vehicles were torched.

Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) convenor M Kodandaram even asked the protesters to not move from the venue till New Delhi agreed to grant a separate Telangana state. Later they moved away though.

Earlier in the day on Sunday, pro-Telangana activists clashed with cops in Hyderabad as Necklace Road by the Hussain Sagar in the city turned into a sea of humanity with thousands hitting the road on the day of a big rally for a separate state.

While tension mounted, six ruling Congress MPs and party leader Keshava Rao from the region were detained on Sunday after they protested before the Chief Minister´s office even as police fired teargas shells to disperse students of Osmania University trying to break a security cordon.

Ruling Congress MPs and MLAs from Telangana were protesting against their own chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and slammed the government for making arrests ahead of the rally.

Police also had to teargas students of Osmania University after they tried to bring out a rally in a prohibited zone taking it out from the Art College campus side.

The police charged with batons and fired tear gas shells when the students tried to break the security cordon and take to the Necklace Road, where the march is permitted in only on an one km stretch.

Osmania University is the nerve centre of the protest for a separate state so far.

The year 2011 had seen widespread protests for a separate Telangana state that put pressure on the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre to expedite the bifurcation of the state, carving out the Telangana region with Andhra Pradesh´s current capital Hyderabad as its main city.

The Telangana region, which merged with Andhra Pradesh in 1956 against the wishes of many locals, comprises of 10 districts - Adilabad, Hyderabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Warangal.

As the movement to divide the state gained momentum, politicians from coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema regions want the state of 85 million people to remain unified, and especially oppose tearing out the IT-hub city Hyderabad that would affect the state's economy.

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