Hyderabad: Tension gripped parts of Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday as pro-Telangana activists forcibly tried to unfurl national flags atop government buildings to mark the liberation day.
Police arrested activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and other groups when they tried to barge into government offices in some districts to hoist the national flag.
About 50 BJYM activists were taken into custody for barging into the office of the district collector in Mahabubnagar to hoist the tricolour.
Police arrested former minister and Congress leader J Krishna Rao and his supporters in Mahabubnagar when they were heading towards Parade Grounds to unfurl the national flag.
BJYM activists succeeded in hoisting the flag at the office of Nizamabad district collectorate.
Activists of Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) and other groups were also arrested by police in Nalgonda, Medak, Warangal, Adilabad and Karimnagar districts for trying to hoist national flag atop government buildings.
Telangana supporters unfurled both the national flag and the Telangana flag at several places in the region. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader N Narasimha Reddy hoisted both the flags at party headquarters Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad.
State Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayan unfurled the national flag at party headquarters Gandhi Bhavan and felicitated freedom fighters.
Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu also joined the liberation day celebrations, unfurling the tricolour at TDP head office NTR Trust Bhavan.
It was on this day in 1948 that then Hyderabad state was merged with the Indian Union following the surrender of Nizam`s army before the Indian Army. This followed what is popularly known as `police action`.
Telangana, which comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad, was part of Hyderabad state. In 1956, Telangana was merged with the then Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh while Marathi and Kannada speaking regions of Hyderabad state were merged with Maharashtra and Karnataka respectively.
The BJP and some other groups have long been demanding that the government officially celebrate the Telangana liberation day.
Successive governments in Andhra Pradesh have turned down the demand on the ground that this could create communal trouble in view of the serious reservations of the Muslim community.
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and other Muslim groups are opposed to any celebrations as they claim "excesses" were committed on Muslims during the `police action`.
Telangana liberation day is being celebrated this year at a time when the movement for a separate state of Telangana has intensified.
Government employees, teachers, lawyers and workers of state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited in the region are on an indefinite strike for the last five days, seeking a separate state.