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Shutdown paralyses life in Telangana region


Hyderabad : Normal life Thursday came to a grinding halt in parts of Hyderabad and nine other districts of the Telangana region as a 48-hour shutdown was called by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and other groups.

State-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) suspended all bus services while private vehicles also went off the roads following violence in parts of Hyderabad and several towns late Wednesday.

Shops, business establishments, petrol bunks, cinema theatres and all educational institutions remained closed in response to the shutdown call to protest the centre’s latest statement on the issue of a separate Telangana state.

Tension prevailed in the region as police made preventive arrests and imposed prohibitory orders banning the assembly of five or more people. Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in huge numbers to prevent violence.

Students and workers of various parties came on the streets across the region soon after Home Minister P. Chidambaram made the announcement in New Delhi Wednesday evening. In his statement, the minister said the situation had changed in the state and political parties were divided on the issue.

Alleging that the centre had betrayed the people of Telangana, they set buses, trucks and government offices on fire. The protesters torched 20 buses and trucks including four in Hyderabad even as TRS president K. Chandrasekhara Rao and Congress party leaders appealed for peaceful protests.

Protests again broke out at Osmania University, which was the nerve centre of an 11-day agitation early this month. The protesters set afire Jamia Osmania railway station near the campus.

RTC officials said protesters damaged 150 buses in the region. A post office in Medak district and a government office in Nizamabad district were set afire. A branch of Andhra Bank in Karimnagar district was also attacked.

As the violence spread, the authorities switched off electricity in some districts of north Telangana. There were also reports of authorities snapping cable television broadcasts in some areas to contain the violence.