Telangana protest reaches CM’s office, strike continues


Hyderabad : The Andhra Pradesh state secretariat Monday resounded to traditional Telangana songs as the protest for a separate Telangana reached the doorstep of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s office.

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In a novel protest, the striking employees at the secretariat sang traditional Telangana folk songs and danced.

A group of women employees in front of ‘C’ block, which houses the chief minister’s office, did the ‘Bathukamma’ or the dance performed to mark the spring festival in the region.

Another group of striking employees could be seen wearing black blindfolds.

State minister for infrastructure K. Venkata Reddy, Congress MPs Madhu Yaskhi, S. Rajaiah and Ponnam Prabhakar, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislators K. Tarakarama Rao and E. Rajender reached there to express their solidarity with the striking employees.

They warned the government and demanded that no action be taken against the employees, whose indefinite strike entered its 14th day Monday.

Buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation remained off the roads in Telangana for the eighth day.

The protestors tried to stop RTC buses carrying employees to the secretariat from Vanasthalipuram neighbourhood. Police intervened to control the situation. Some Telangana activists damaged a couple of private buses, police said.

Security was beefed up as a majority of employees hailing from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions and living in the area are attending to their duties at the secretariat.

Telangana activists also attacked an official of the transport department for issuing show-cause notices to striking employees.

Tension prevailed at the transport commissioner’s office as a minister and leaders of the TRS and other pro-Telangana groups refused to leave the premises till the notices were withdrawn.

During the heated argument between the assistant transport commissioner and the leaders, some protestors pulled him by holding his shirt. The leaders forced the official to sign an order, withdrawing the show cause notices.

After the two-day ‘rail blockade’, which paralysed rail traffic in the region Saturday and Sunday, the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) gave a call for shutting down industrial units.

A majority of medium and small scale units were closed in the region Monday.

The Information Technology industry in Hyderabad also began to feel the heat of the ongoing agitation with protestors trying to stop software employees on the road leading to Hitec City, the sector housing many IT giants.

Holding flags of Telangana and raising slogans, the protestors blocked the road, leading to traffic snarls. Police arrested 15 leaders of the JAC in Kukatpally.

The police action evoked protest from students of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), who demanded their release.

The administration and public transport remained paralysed in the region, while educational institutions continue to be shut for two weeks.

Coal production in state-owned Singareni Collieries remained crippled in three districts while majority of workers have returned to work in Khammam district.

Meanwhile, JAC convenor M. Kodandaram led a protest by RTC employees at Bus Bhavan, the RTC headquarters here.

“If anything happens to employees, the MPs and MLAs of Congress party will be responsible,” he said while demanding their resignations to pressure the centre to accept the demand for Telangana state.