Protests over Telangana rock Andhra Pradesh



Hyderabad: Protests for and against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh rocked the state on Thursday, with Congress facing ire after party state in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad's statement that the statehood issue would not be decided in a hurry despite the deadline.

AICC general secretary Azad had said in Delhi that a decision on the Telangana statehood issue would not be taken in a hurry despite the January 28 deadline set by the Centre to decide on the matter.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) came up with its new slogan "Congress ko khatam karo" (finish off the Congress) for going back on its promise of resolving the statehood issue, while people in large numbers took to the streets across the Andhra-Rayalaseema region demanding that the state be kept united.

"Don't return to the state empty-hand without Telangana or else you will face the wrath of the people," TRS leader T Harish Rao warned Congress ministers, MPs and MLAs from the region.

His fellow MLA K T Rama Rao gave the slogan "Congress ko khatam karo" as it has once again sought to betray the people of Telangana, he said.

"You are delaying a decision on Telangana only to save the state government from falling. The government will fall even if you don't give Telangana," he said.

He demanded that ministers, MPs and MLAs of the Congress quit their posts and force the Centre to concede their demand for a separate Telangana state.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) too came down heavily on the Congress for seeking to ditch the Telangana people yet again.

Senior TDP leaders M Narasimhulu and E Peddi Reddy warned that the people would teach a lesson to the ruling Congress party if it did not keep its word on the Telangana statehood issue.

In Hyderabad, some students tried to attack the residence of Rajya Sabha member K V P Ramachandra Rao at Banjara Hills, but the police thwarted the attempt.

Pro-Telangana protesters belonging to different groups condemned Azad's statement and burnt his effigies near the Arts College on Osmania University campus, besides Karimnagar and other Telangana districts.

Students' Joint Action Committees of Osmania University and different universities in Telangana called for closure of educational institutions in the region.

Denouncing the delay in the announcement on Telangana, statehood supporters took to the streets in Karimanagar, Nalgonda, Khammam and Adilabad districts holding demonstrations, forming human chains, squatting on roads and raising slogans against the Centre.

The police also foiled an attempt by a group of Telangana Advocates' Joint Action Committee to lay siege to the ministers' quarters at Banjara Hills and detained protesters, who were later released.

Meanwhile, from Srikakulam on one end, to Anantapur on the other, people in the Andhra-Rayalaseema regions took out large rallies demanding the state be kept united.

"We will not allow Andhra Pradesh to be divided," they said.

In Nellore, proponents of a unified state made local Congress MLA M Sridhar Krishna Reddy tender his resignation from his post.

"I will stand for united AP and not let the state be divided," he told protesters, after he faxed his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AP assembly speaker Nadendla Manohar.

In Tirupati, Union HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju maintained that taking a decision on Andhra Pradesh's bifurcation was not an easy task and the Centre would come out with an appropriate decision.

PTI