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Protests in Telangana mar Andhra Pradesh formation day

Thursday November 01, 2012 06:54:49 PM, IANS

Hyderabad: Hoisting of black flags and protests in Telangana marred the Andhra Pradesh formation day Thursday.

Telangana protagonists hoisted black flags on government office buildings and took out rallies to observe what they called the "day of betrayal" on a call given by Joint Action Committee (JAC), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and other groups fighting for separate statehood to the region.

Tension prevailed at Osmania University campus here as students trying to take out a rally clashed with police. The protestors pelted stones when they were stopped by police at the university gate. Police retaliated with firing of tear gas shells.

Ministers from Telangana stayed away from the official functions in their home districts. At the main official function in Hyderabad, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy unfurled the national flag and took the salute amid unprecedented security.

In the nine other districts of the region, the district collectors hoisted the national tricolour at official functions. There was tension in districts like Warangal and Karimnagar as the pro-Telangana activists were arrested by the police when they tried to disrupt the celebrations. TRS leaders and legislators were among those arrested.

The activists also barged into government buildings and hoisted black flags to register their protest. Telangana employees of the state secretariat also wore black badges.

Leaders of various Telangana groups, wearing black badges and holding black flags, gathered at Gun Park in front of the state assembly building here as a mark of protest. They included JAC convenor M. Kodandaram, who was earlier placed under house arrest.

The JAC leader termed his house arrest "undemocratic" and accused the government of resorting to oppressive measures to prevent Telangana people from staging protests.

Police also arrested Telangana legislator N. Janardhana Reddy when he was on his way to meet Kodandaram at his residence. Protesting his arrest, he staged a sit-in at Kachiguda police station. Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other groups met him at the police station to extend their support.

At Telangana Bhavan, the TRS headquarters, party leader N. Narasimha Reddy hoisted the black flag.

A thick security cover was thrown around NTR Stadium where the main official function was held to mark the occasion. The chief minister addressed the gathering from behind a bullet-proof lectern.

The pro-Telangana groups have been observing the formation day as betrayal day to register their protest. They alleged that the assurances given to the Telangana region at the time of formation of Andhra Pradesh were never fulfilled.

Telangana, a part of the erstwhile Hyderabad state, was merged with then Andhra State Nov 1, 1956, to form Andhra Pradesh despite reservations from a section of people in Telangana.

Demands have been made for separate statehood to Telangana for last four decades. The backward region is currently witnessing a movement for separate statehood.





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