Telangana ministers demand postponement of state exam


Hyderabad : A group of ministers from Telangana region Saturday urged Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah to postpone the Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) selection test as a showdown looks inevitable with students from the region intensifying their protest and calling for a shutdown Sunday.

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Ministers D. Sridhar Babu, K. Venkat Reddy, D.K. Aruna and Sunita Lakshma Reddy sought Rosaiah’s intervention to postpone the Sep 5 exam, which has divided students and even the political parties along regional lines.

The APPSC, however, was going ahead with the exam as scheduled on Sunday at 445 centres across the state for recruitment to 198 posts. More than 1.6 lakh candidates are expected to appear in the exam.

Police were making massive security arrangements for the smooth conduct of the exam and prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people have been imposed around all exam centres.

Congress MP from Nizamabad Madhu Yashki Goud told reporters in New Delhi that he would join Telangana students to protest the conduct of the exam. He warned that the conduct of the exam despite protests would have serious consequences.

Four students of the Osmania University here Saturday launched a fast for indefinite period, demanding that the APPSC preliminary exam be postponed until 42 percent of the jobs at stake are reserved for the Telangana region.

Protests broke out on the university campus as the four students locked themselves in the Art College Building and began the fast on the roof to prevent police from foiling their protest.

Students in other parts of Telangana took to the streets demanding postponement of the exam. In Mahabubnagar, students set afire their hall tickets for APPSC Group I preliminary exam. Students of Kakatiya University in Warangal also launched a fast.

The Osmania University Joint Action Committee (JAC) has called for a boycott of the exam and a shutdown in the region Sunday. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and other groups fighting for a separate Telangana state have also supported the shutdown call.

A delegation of JAC leaders met Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy to demand that the government immediately put off the exam. They have also sought intervention of Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and the State Human Rights Commission.

Alleging injustice to Telangana, leaders of both the ruling Congress and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the region also have demanded that the state public service exam be deferred until the share of Telangana in Group I postings is made clear.

The ministers from Telangana have voiced their apprehension that the boycott and shutdown call given by students and supported by the opposition could create law and order problems.

Meanwhile, Director General of Police K. Aravinda Rao has asked all district superintendents of police to provide a three-layer security cover to the centres to prevent any untoward incident.

All the candidates have been asked to reach the centres well in advance.

Meanwhile, educational institutions in Andhra and Rayalseema regions remained closed Saturday in response to the shutdown call given by some groups in support of the exam.

Telangana groups said they see a conspiracy behind the sudden decision of the APPSC to conduct the exam, which were postponed for two years. They alleged that the exam was being conducted to recruit candidates from other regions without specifying the share of Telangana at time when formation of a separate Telangana had become almost certain.

They even warned the government of a bloodbath if it goes ahead with the exam.

TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao has demanded the arrest and prosecution of APPSC chairman Venkatarami Reddy for doing injustice to Telangana in previous recruitments. He alleged that Telangana students who scored well in the written test were deliberately given fewer marks in oral tests to disqualify them from appointments.

The row has erupted close on the heels of an attack on lecturers of Andhra and Rayalaseema regions by Telangana students at Osmania University here. The students were protesting the evaluation of B.Ed papers by teachers from other regions.