Hyderabad: A shutdown called to demand that Bhadrachalam division should remain as part of the separate Telangana state hit the normal life in Khammam district of Telangana region Tuesday.
Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in the Khammam district on a call given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of all parties, including several pro-Telangana organisations, to protest the move to merge Bhadrachalam with residuary state of Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation.
Protestors took to streets and stopped buses of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), including those going to neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
A 72-hour shutdown in Bhadrachalam division ended Sunday but the shutdown has now spread to the entire district.
Bhadrachalam, famous for Sitarama temple, is the bone of contention between Telangana and Andhra regions. Both the sides are staking claims to the town.
Telangana leaders are claiming that Bhadrachalam is an integral part of Telangana while those in Andhra argue that the town belongs to their region as it was part of East Godavari district before 1956, the year when during reorganisation of states the then Hyderabad state was merged with Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh. In 1959, the Bhadrachalam division was merged with Khammam district for administrative convenience.
Pro-Telangana groups say Bhadrachalam division was part of Qutub Shahi kingdom. But Andhra leaders point out that it was under British rule from 1768 to 1947. It was said to be part of the combined Godavari district formed in 1825 and from 1925 it became part of the East Godavari district of Madras Presidency, based on the grant made by Moghul Emperor Shah Alam II on August 12, 1765.
In 1952, Bhadrachalam became part of the newly created Andhra state and it remained so till 1956.
Central ministers from Telangana, during their meeting with Group of Ministers (GoM) in Delhi Monday, made it clear that Telangana state without Hyderabad and Bhadrachalam would not be acceptable to them.
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment P. Balram Naik argued that barring a few years, Bhadrachalam was always part of Telangana. He pointed out that the temple and the bridge were constructed by Nizam, the ruler of the Hyderabad state.
Naik told the GoM that the tribes in Bhadrachalam have their own language and don`t speak Telugu. He called for continuing the division as part of Telangana as per the wishes of the local tribes and to protect their interests.
On the other hand, the leaders from Andhra are not ready to give up Bhadrachalam. Union Textiles Minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao has claimed that Bhadrachalam will remain with the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation.