Hyderabad: Sporadic incidents of violence marked the Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) exam in Telangana on Sunday with pro-Telangana students either boycotting the test or staging protests at the exam centres against "injustice" to the region.
Students protesting the conduct of the test ransacked an exam centre at the Osmania University campus here, leaving three injured.
Tension prevailed at the BEd college as protesters broke the security cordon and barged into the exam centre. Some students came out with question papers and answer sheets and tore them up, police said.
The three students were injured in a scuffle with police, who used batons and tear gas against the protesters and arrested 60 of them, an official said.
Although the police made elaborate security arrangements in view of the boycott call given by the Osmania University Joint Action Committee (OUJAC) and other pro-Telangana groups, the protesters outnumbered them.
Activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and OUJAC uprooted the security barricades and broke into the college. The police failed to prevent them.
Four MPs of ruling Congress party and leaders and activists of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) were arrested when they reached the campus in a show of solidarity with protesters.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mahesh Chandra Laddha denied that protesters barged into the centre and claimed that some students from inside the centre came out with papers. He said the exam was held without any further trouble.
"Some protesters threw stones. The police had to retaliate," he said.
The protesters later stoned two shopping malls and buses near the university.
Students questioned the decision of APPSC to continue holding the exam when the paper was leaked. APPSC chairman Venkatram Reddy said they would probe the allegations.
Despite the boycott and Telangana shutdown called by student groups and pro-Telangana parties and leaders, the APPSC went ahead with the Group I Prelim exam amid tight security.
Police deployment was marked at 445 centres where the exam was held from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm.
More than 1.6 lakh candidates were to write the exam for recruitment to 198 posts but only 50 percent appeared. Only 35 percent candidates turned up in Telangana.
At some centres in the region the students came out soon after the exam began saying they would write only in a separate Telangana state.
The pro-Telangana groups were demanding that the exam be postponed till the share of the region in the Group I postings was made clear. They were demanding 42 percent share for the region.
Violence was reported from different parts of Telangana as the shutdown evoked partial response.
Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar sustained minor injuries when police tried to prevent him and his supporters from entering an exam centre in Karimnagar.
Legislators and leaders of the TRS and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were taken into custody in different parts of Telangana.
TRS legislator Harish Rao was arrested when he tried to barge into an exam centre in Sangareddy in Medak district.
The strike affected services of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corp (APSRTC) in Karimnagar and Warangal districts. The impact was partial in the remaining eight districts, including Hyderabad.