Hyderabad: The postponement of recruitment test for sub-inspectors of police landed the Andhra Pradesh government in a spot as massive students protests rocked Andhra and Rayalaseema regions on Saturday.
The universities and all other educational institutions in the two regions remained closed on a call of Seema-Andhra Joint Action Committee (JAC), which is opposing the demand for separate statehood to Telangana, which forms the third region of the state.
Students took to streets in many parts of coastal Andhra and Rayalseema, condemning the government for postponing the police recruitment test under pressure from pro-Telangana groups.
Police arrested dozens of students in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and other towns as they tried to forcibly close the shops. Students took out rallies, raised anti-government slogans and burnt the effigies of Chief Minister K Rosaiah.
Students of Andhra University in Visakhapatnam, Nagarjuna University in Guntur, Sri Venkateshwara University in Tirupati and Sri Krishnadevaraya University in Anantapur held massive protest demonstrations.
Under pressure from student groups, ministers from the two regions held a meeting to discuss the issue. They also met Home Minister P.Sabita Indra Reddy and took exception to the postponement of the test without consulting them. The home minister hails from Telangana region.
The home minister, on her part, appealed to students to withdraw the protest and assured them that the test would be conducted as early as possible.
The government on Friday put off the test scheduled for Dec 18-19 following massive protests in Telangana region. The student groups and parties, fighting for separate statehood to Telangana, had opposed the test, claiming that its conduct without resolving the controversial issue of Hyderabad as a free zone would do injustice to locals.
The announcement restored calm in Telangana, especially in Osmania University, the hub of protests which was rocked by violence Thursday night. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti also withdrew its call for Telangana shutdown Saturday. But the test`s postponement evoked fresh trouble in the other two regions of the state.
The Supreme Court had last year declared Hyderabad a free zone, where people from other regions of the state also can get government jobs.
The parties fighting for separate Telangana state alleged this measure is a violation of the assurances given to people of the region at the time of its merger with the then Andhra state in 1956 to form Andhra Pradesh.