Hyderabad : Andhra Pradesh Saturday celebrated its 52nd formation day while some parties demanding separate statehood for the Telangana region observed it as a `betrayal day’.
The classical language status given to Telugu by the central government Friday added to the celebrations this year but the divide was also clear with Telangana parties claiming they were closer to achieving the goal of a separate state.
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy led the celebrations by unfurling the national flag at the main official function held at NTR Stadium here. A colourful parade and cultural programmes highlighting the rich Telugu culture were held on the occasion.
In his speech, the chief minister reiterated his government’s commitment to the overall development of the state. He claimed that his government was working for the development of all the regions without any discrimination.
The chief minister said the classical language status given to Telugu was a matter of pride for all Telugu speaking people.
However, protest demonstrations marked the day in the Telangana region, which is witnessing a renewed movement for a separate state.
Holding black flags, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and Nava Telangana Praja Party (NTPP) activists tried to disrupt the official celebrations. The two parties observed it as `betrayal day’ alleging that injustice was done to the region with the rulers from Andhra going back on all the assurances given at the time of the merger.
Tension prevailed in Sangareddy in Medak district when TRS activists tried to march towards police parade grounds where Geeta Reddy, minister for major industries, was participating in the formation day celebrations. The police used force to disperse TRS workers squatting on the road to stop the minister.
TRS legislators Harish Rao and Ramalinga Reddy were among the dozens of people arrested in Sangareddy. TRS floor leader in the assembly E. Rajender and others were arrested in Karimnagar district.
NTPP, formed recently by former minister T. Devender Goud, staged a road blockade at Vanasthalipuram on the city outskirts.
It was Nov 1, 1956 that Telangana, part of erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad, was merged with Andhra to form a state for Telugu speaking people with Hyderabad as its capital.
The Telangana region comprises nine districts, including Hyderabad, witnessed violent movement for a separate state in 1970s. The TRS revived the movement in 2001.
On Sep 1, 1953, Telugu-speaking Rayalseema and coastal Andhra areas of Madras State were separated to form Andhra state with Kurnool as its capital.
This followed the death of Telugu leader Potti Sriramulu in December 1952 after a 56-day hunger strike to press the demand for a separate state for Telugus.
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and leader of opposition and Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu paid rich tributes to Potti Sriramulu by garlanding his statue here.
Leaders of TRS, NTPP and other parties fighting for separate Telangana paid rich tributes to the martyrs who fought for a separate Telangana. They said the region was witnessing the last Andhra Pradesh formation day.
Devender Goud, who quit TDP to form NTPP, vowed to continue the struggle till Telangana achieves separate statehood.
The formation day was celebrated at a time when the Telangana issue has come back to the centre stage of the state politics in view of the ensuing elections and all parties except the ruling Congress have categorically declared their support to the demand for the separate state.
TDP, which had been opposing bifurcation of the state since the party’s formation in early 1980s, recently backed the demand for separate Telangana.