Resignations, protests back in Andhra Pradesh over separate state

Hyderabad, Jan 28 (IANS) Resignations and protests for a separate Telangana state returned to haunt Andhra Pradesh Monday, a day after the central government, ignoring its own one-month deadline, indefinitely postponed a decision on the vexatious issue.

Seven of the 12 Congress MPs from the Telangana region met here and decided to quit both parliament and the party while state ministers also said they were ready for any sacrifice for the cause of a separate state.

Protestors in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana vented their ire at the Congress, accusing it of betraying people even as Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao vowed to intensify the agitation with a call for laying siege to the assembly during the budget session.

Scores of pro-Telangana protestors were arrested by police in Hyderabad, Warangal and other parts of the region. Rallies were taken out and meetings were held to condemn the statement of union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is in charge of the state.

Some activists staged a demonstration with dogs, seeking to compare the central government's attitude towards Telangana with the dog's barking.

In Hyderabad, police arrested revolutionary balladeer Gadar, who was leading a rally to Telangana Martyrs' Memorial at Gun Park near the state assembly. Dozens of students marching towards Gun Park were also detained.

Telangana Rashtriya Lok Dal activists were taken into custody when they tried to lay seige to the assembly. Protestors trying to march towards Raj Bhavan and also those attempting to lay siege to MLA Quarters were also arrested.

For the second consecutive day, the Osmania University here remained tense with police not allowing students to take out a rally.

Protests were also held on the campuses of other universities and unidentified people damaged the statue of Indira Gandhi in Hanamkonda town in Warangal district.

Telangana students' Joint Action Committee called for a shutdown Tuesday, while proponents of a united Andhra Pradesh intensified their stir in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.

The state may again be heading for a December 2009-like situation when MPs and state legislators in Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra) resigned enmasse after the central government announced that the process for formation of Telangana state would be initiated. When the decision was put on hold citing lack of consensus, many MPs and state legislators in Telangana submitted their resignations.

Soon after their meeting, the Congress MPs declared that they would Tuesday send their resignation letters, addressed to the Lok Sabha speaker and to party president Sonia Gandhi.

"We will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to send the resignation letters and will chalk out our future course of action. This will be our last meeting," said K. Rajagopal Reddy, one of the MPs.

The state ministers from Telangana, however, refused to succumb to the pressure to quit.

K. Jana Reddy, a senior minister, told reporters that they were still hopeful of a positive decision by the central government.

Chandrasekhara Rao vowed to continue and intensify the agitation for a separate state.

Making the concluding speech at the two-day protest here, he announced that 'chalo assembly' (march to assembly) would be organised during the budget session of the house.

Hitting hard at the Congress for betraying the people of Telangana repeatedly, the TRS leader hinted at the possibility of joining hands with any non-Congress alliance to achieve the goal of separate state.

A court in Ranga Reddy district directed police to book cases of cheating against central ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and P. Chidambaram. The court directed the L.B. Nagar police station on the outskirts of Hyderabad to register the case against the two ministers.

The court gave the direction on a complaint by a lawyer who alleged that the two ministers cheated the people of Telangana by going back on their announcements to carve out a separate state.

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