Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Hyderabad: Normal life came to a grinding halt in all 13 districts of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions on Friday to protest the Union Cabinet`s approval to a draft bill for formation of separate Telangana state.
Transport services were paralysed as over 12,000 buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) went off the roads in Seemandhra, as the two regions are together known.
Shops, petrol bunks, business establishments and education institutions were shut in response to the shutdown called by YSR Congress party and Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) Association. The MPs of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have also given a call for 48-hour shutdown.
Political activists, public representatives, government employees, students and other sections of people took to streets since early morning in all nine districts of coastal Andhra and four districts of Rayalaseema. They were seen enforcing the shutdown and staging road blockades.
The shutdown was total in major towns like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Nellore, Tirupati, Kurnool and Anantapur.
Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in Seemandhra to maintain peace. Police sounded high alert Thursday night after the union cabinet approved draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill for carving out separate Telangana state.
Parties opposing the bifurcation have reacted strongly to the cabinet approval. YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy called for the shutdown and said the decision would spell doom for the two regions. Police stepped up security at the residences of central and state ministers, MPs and state legislators.
Seemandhra had witnessed massive protests after July 30 decision of the Congress Working Committee to carve out Telangana state. Over six lakh government employees, APSRTC workers and teachers were on strike for nearly two months.
Celebrations in Telangana
Within minutes after the Cabinet approved the draft bill on Telanagana, celebrations broke out in Hyderabad and other parts of the region.
As the news broke about the cabinet approving draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, Telangana supporters gathered at Telangana martyrs` memorial near assembly building here and paid their tributes.
Telangana activists raised slogans of `Jai Telangana`, hugged each other, distributed sweets and burst crackers.
After day-long shutdown to protest the central government`s reported proposal of Rayala-Telangana, the cabinet decision brought cheers to pro-Telangana groups.
There were celebrations by the students at Osmania University, which earlier in the day witnessed clashes between protesting students and police.
Leaders and activists of Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and other groups were seen congratulating each other.