Protests in Seemandhra, which had become a bit routine, intensified Thursday with the Union Cabinet taking major steps to carve out a separate State of Telangana.
Various Seemandhra leaders called for bandh in most of the districts. A 72-hour bandh was called in Kadapa and Kurnool, while in Krishna, Guntur and Chittoor a day’s bandh will be observed Friday. There will be a two-day bandh in Anantapur. In Tirupati, Samaikyandhra activists vowed not to let RTC buses ply to Tirumala from 6 a.m.
The APNGOs’ Association also called for a 48-hour bandh across Andhra and Rayalaseema beginning 6 a.m. on Friday. “It will be a total bandh. There will be no movement of vehicles as all national highways will be blocked,” APNGOs’ president P Ashok Babu said. Anticipating trouble, incharge DGP B Prasada Rao held a video conference with SPs in Seemandhra districts and directed them to take measures to maintain law and order.
He is learnt to have told them to exercise restraint while dealing with protestors. With speculation rife since morning that the note on Telangana would be submitted to the Union Cabinet in the evening, protestors took to the streets in Seemandhra region by afternoon to vent their anger on Congress leaders.
Several of them staged a dharna in front of Union Minister of State Killi Krupa Rani’s residence at Tekkali in Srikakulam district, demanding that she resign immediately.
In the neighbouring Vizianagaram district, utter chaos prevailed at PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana’s residence when scores of Samaikyandhra activists tried to barge in. The protest, in fact, was to seek resignation of his wife Botcha Jhansi, who is the Vizianagaram MP. Police had to lathicharge the mob to bring the situation under control.
In Kurnool, the Samaikyandhra Teachers’ Struggle Committee laid siege to the residence of Union Minister Kotla Surayaprakash Reddy. In Tirupati, TDP MP N Sivaprasad was targeted by the protestors who went to his apartment in big numbers and raised slogans. Sivaprasad came out and joined them saying he too had been fighting for the cause of Samaikyandhra.
In Rajahmundry, demonstrators gathered outside MP Vundavalli Arunkumar’s residence and expressed their anger over the Centre’s resolve to divide the State. The MP came out and took part in the protest, agreeing with them that division would mean injustice to Andhra.
Union Minister of state Panabaka Lakshmi’s residence in Nellore turned into a battle zone with the police whipping out their lathis.