The administration in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh came
to a standstill as the "people's strike" began Tuesday,
intensifying the movement for separate statehood to the region.
About 400,000 government employees, teachers, workers, lawyers and
a section of doctors launched the indefinite strike.
The work in courts was also affected as lawyers also joined the
protest for a separate state.
In some places like Warangal, doctors and other medical and para-medical
staff in government hospitals also struck work to demand a
Coal production in the government-owned Singareni Collieries
Company Ltd (SCCL) came to a grinding halt Tuesday as its over
100,000 workers joined the "people's strike", an official said.
Work in 50 mines spread over Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and
Khammam districts came to a standstill as the employees began the
Administration from village to state secretariat was affected as
government employees and officials in all departments joined the
indefinite strike on a call given by Telangana Joint Action
Committee (JAC), which is spearheading the movement for a separate
Work in the state secretariat was only partially hit as employees
belonging to Telangana stayed away from duties but those from the
Andhra and Rayalaseema regions turned up at their offices in the
state secretariat and other departments in the state capital. They
worked under tight police security.
Slogans of "Jai Telangana" echoed across Hyderabad and nine other
districts of Telangana as employees, teachers, students, workers,
lawyers, doctors and people from other walks of life took out
rallies, formed human chains and held demonstrations, demanding
the central government carve out a separate state.
A large number of both government and private schools and colleges
in the region were closed as teachers joined the "sakala janula
samme" or the people's strike. Cinema theatres were also closed to
show solidarity with the movement.
Employees staged protests outside the offices of collectors in all
10 districts. Work in the offices of the collectors and key
departments came to a standstill.
Activists of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) and other pro-Telangana groups also staged road
blockades in support of the strike.
Police arrested the Telugu Desam Party's leaders from Telangana
when they tried to lay siege to the state secretariat.
BJP leaders and activists took out a rally to Telangana martyrs'
memorial at Gun Park here, demanding the central government table
a bill in parliament for formation of a Telangana state.
"The indefinite strike in coming days will turn into a mega battle
and a stage will come where Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy will
have to leave the state secretariat," warned BJP leader Bandaru
In Nizamabad, lawyers locked up the district court. Work in
Nampally criminal court here was also affected by the lawyers'
The employees of SCCL did not turn up for duty from 7 a.m. as all
their 14 unions were supporting the strike call. On a normal day,
the company produces about 120,000 tonnes of coal in 36
underground and 14 open cast mines, said a company official.
Singareni employees began a 'rasta roko' movement by forming human
If it continues, the strike is likely to affect nearly 10 thermal
power stations in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. With
an installed capacity of 7,000 MW, these stations depend on
Singareni coal for their operations.
The JAC has decided to go ahead with the strike despite Chief
Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy threatening to act tough.
The government Monday made it clear that it would not hesitate to
invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ban
strikes, implement a "no work, no pay" order and initiate
disciplinary action against the strikers.
Employees of the state-owned Andhra Pradesh Road Transport
Corporation and other public sector undertakings also plan to join
the strike from Sep 16.
At a massive public meeting in Karimnagar Monday night, leaders of
the TRS and the JAC warned the government against invoking the
"Telangana will burn if the government dares to use ESMA against
any employee, teacher or worker," said TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said the agitation would not stop
till the central government fulfills its Dec 9, 2009, promise to
carve out a Telangana state.