Over 300,000 government employees are participating in the indefinite protest called by Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other groups fighting for a separate state.
The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Communist Party of India (CPI), which are not part of JAC have also declared their support to the movement.
The protest was expected to bring administration to a standstill as employees in government offices, corporations, municipalities and other state-owned units have joined the movement. They will attend offices but will not work and will not follow the orders of their superiors hailing from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of the state, organisers of the protest action said.
The employees have rejected the state government's appeal to stay away from the agitation and said they would not be deterred by use of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).
Teachers, lawyers and students have also announced their participation in the movement to mount pressure on the government.
JAC had appealed to people not to buy tickets while travelling in the state-owned Road Transport Corporation buses and not to pay taxes and utility charges.
TRS legislator K Tarakarama Rao formally launched the movement in Hyderabad by travelling in the RTC bus from Khairatabad to the state assembly building along with other TRS legislators and leaders.
The people of Telangana want immediate steps for separate Telangana state and this movement will force the government, Rao told reporters.
Police arrested dozens of TRS workers and Telangana supporters for travelling without tickets in RTC buses in Medak and Adilabad districts.
Meanwhile there was chaos in the Andhra Pradesh legislature in Hyderabad on Thursday with Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) members trying to snatch papers from Governor ESL Narasimhan's hands as he was addressing a joint session of both houses.
The governor had to cut short his speech as legislators of the TRS, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) continually raised slogans of "Governor go back". Some legislators, mainly from the TRS, tore copies of his speech and threw the pieces at him.
Unprecedented scenes were witnessed as the governor, who was visibly upset over the protest, completed his speech in less than 15 minutes and left the assembly. The governor skipped many papers of his 40-page address as his security personnel and marshals of assembly stood like a wall between him and the legislators.
As soon as the governor began his speech on the first day of the budget session, the Telangana legislators were on their feet raising slogans. The TRS legislators advanced towards the podium, tore his speech copies and threw papers at him.
As Narasimhan continued his speech, the legislators went closer to him, tried to uproot the mike and snatch the papers as his personal security officer came to his rescue. The assembly staff snapped the live telecast of governor's address.
Marshals were called to control TRS and other opposition legislators as the governor resumed his speech. Amid pandemonium, he cut short his speech.
Earlier, TRS, TDP and other pro-Telangana legislators alleged that the governor was anti-Telangana and hence had no right to address the legislature on the land of Telangana.
Hyderabad: The non-cooperation movement in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh began on Thursday to press for introduction of a bill in parliament for a separate state of Telangana.
First Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011, 12:45