TIRUPATI: The angry mood was evident since Thursday morning itself as supporters of “capital in Rayalaseema” demand gave a call for bandh in region. As the announcement came that Vijayawada region would be the capital of the newly-formed state, the protests became more vocal. While a rally was taken out in Anantapur and dharnas organised in Kadapa, student leaders announced an agitation for a separate state of Rayalaseema.
The bandh call given by the Rayalaseema Vidyarthi Vedika demanding state capital in any district in the region evoked mixed response. The only district where it showed some impact was Kadapa.
Almost all the student unions joined the protests and picketed before the eight bus depots. Private transport was allowed, but at some places, students forcibly deflated tyres of vehicles which plied without heeding to the bandh call. Students took out a rally from the RTC bus depot in the town to Koti Reddy Circle, forcing shops to close down. As the students blocked traffic there, police tried to shift them, which led to mild tension. Police, later, detained the students and cleared the traffic. Students of the Yogi Vemana University too boycotted classes.
Government and private institutions were also forced to close down at some places, while students burnt the government in effigy. The Kadapa Bar Association too extended support to the bandh and boycotted courts. Association members said they would meet on Sept 7 and chalk out a plan to agitate for setting up of the High Court in Rayalaseema region.
After the announcement of Vijayawada region as capital, students gathered at the Puttaparti circle in Proddutur and burnt the government in effigy. Businesses also shut down voluntarily.
The Vedika, meanwhile, decided to take forward the agitation with the demand of separate Rayalaseema state. “We have been demanding the capital in Rayalaseema, but we were given a raw deal. We will now agitate for a separate state,” Vedika convenor Bhaskar said.
The call for agitations, however, did not seem to take shape as the students did not have enough support from other sections, particularly politicians. “We will take a call after holding a meeting in Tirupati or Anantapur,” Bhaskar said.