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Protests rock Seemandhra ahead of Congress, UPA meet on Telangana
Monday July 29, 2013 11:11 PM, IANS

Protests rocked coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions Monday, a day before a UPA panel and the Congress's highest decision-making body discuss the issue of carving out a separate Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh amid indications that a final decision could be taken.

Additional paramilitary forces have been despatched to the state.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) panel will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a meeting of the all powerful Congress Working Committee, informed sources said.

The sources said the Congress, which has completed the process of consultations on the issue, will now try to take the allies on board before it takes a final call in the CWC.

There was also acknowledgement that the party was divided on the issue.

While the central leadership appears to be open to the idea of a separate Telangana, Congress MPs from coastal Andhra and Rayalseema - collectively known as Seemandhra - and Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy himself are opposed to a division.

Union ministers M.M. Pallam Raju, K.S. Rao, Chiranjeevi and D. Purandeshwari (all MPs belonging to coastal Andhra) Saturday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and told him that there would be repercussions not only for the state but for the entire country if the state was divided.

Sources meanwhile said discussions have been held on suggestions for including some districts of Rayalaseema in Telangana and on the status of Hyderabad. There also have been suggestions of making Hyderabad a joint capital and a union territory for some time.

Ahead of the crucial meetings, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions were Monday rocked by protests opposing the state's division.

The protestors included students, activists of political parties, employees and other sections of society, who laid siege on the houses of central ministers, MPs and state legislators, seeking their resignations for a united Andhra Pradesh.

Congress MP Sai Pratap's house was also surrounded by the protestors in Kadapa.

In Guntur, protestors laid siege to the house of another MP R. Sambasiva Rao. They regretted that Congress leaders from Seemandhra failed to put pressure on the leadership not to divide the state.

There was mild tension when protestors laid siege to Congress MP L. Rajagopal's house in Vijayawada. Raising slogans against him, they clashed with police.

Students took out a rally in Srikakulam, opposing statehood to Telangana. Protests were also held in Tirupati, Nellore and other towns.

More paramilitary forces were rushed to Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions to deal with any situation.

More than 1,000 personnel of paramilitary forces were deployed in the towns to prevent any possible outbreak of violence.

Over 1,200 personnel were already deployed in major towns in Seemandhra last week to maintain law and order.

More central forces from neighboring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were rushed to towns like Anantapur, Kadapa, Kurnool and Nellore, which are already witnessing protests against possible division of the state.

Some personnel from paramilitary forces have also been deployed in Hyderabad as a precautionary measure.

The union home ministry is in touch with the state authorities to monitor the law and order situation.

In New Delhi, informed sources said that the home ministry has sent about 10 companies of paramilitary forces in addition to the forces already in the state to assist in maintaining peace.

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