A bandh called by the YSR Congress, the Telugu Desam Party and other anti-Telangana political parties is being observed in Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh to protest against the passage of the AP Reorganisation Bill-2013 in the Lok Sabha.
The bandh, also supported by several NGOs and various pro-united Andhra Pradesh organisations, is being held in different districts of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of the state, with police beefing up security to thwart any attempts to disturb law and order.
Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation’s bus services across Seemandhra region were hit due to the bandh, while educational institutions -- government as well as private -- remained closed in most parts. Shops and business establishments were also shut at many places.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets and held rallies, demonstrations and formed human chains in different towns across 13 districts of Seemandhra to condemn the decision to divide Andhra Pradesh.
"The bandh has been peaceful so far. There are no reports of any untoward incidents. Bus services were affected in Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts," said Deputy Inspector General of Police, Visakhapatnam Range, P Umapathi.
"We are keeping a watch on the situation. Paramilitary and state police forces have been deployed at different locations, including public places and central government offices as a precautionary measure," another police officer said.
A report from Visakhapatnam said the Seemandhra bandh called by the YSRCP and the Telugu Desam Party against the bill has generated a partial response today.
Except bus services of the APSRTC, other transport vehicles like auto rickshaws and private vehicles are plying as usual.
Supporters of political parties like the TDP, the Congress and the YSRCP staged dharnas in front of bus depots at Maddilapalem junction to protest against the bifurcation.
Police have tightened the security at all the vulnerable points to maintain law and order.
People from Vijayawada and Krishna districts expressed anger over the decision to bifurcate the state by observing the bandh.
Almost all educational institutions declared a holiday in view of the bandh. Most of the business establishments also remained closed. The APSRTC suspended most of the services after 9 am.
YSRCP leaders and activists were not allowing the buses to move outside. The TDP leaders also joined the protests.
A report from East Godavari district said the bandh was peaceful and complete.
Normal life was disrupted in the district, as over 800 buses remained stationed in nine RTC depots.
TDP and YSRCP activists staged sit-ins at Amalapuram, Razole and Ravulapalem bus depots to protest the passage of the Telangana Bill.
"We suspended the bus services to various destinations in the district as a precautionary measure," a RTC spokesman said.
The protestors also burnt the effigies of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
The agitators said they burnt the effigies of Modi and Swaraj to extend support to the passage of the Telangana Bill in Lok Sabha.
Educational, commercial and financial institutions remained closed in East Godavari, with protests being held in various parts, including Amalapuram, Kothapet, Tuni and Ravulapalem.
Police sources said elaborate security arrangements have been made and pickets have been posted at residences of VVIPs, including that of Union ministers MM Pallam Raju and party offices in the district.
Image: Supporters of 'United Andhra' protest the creation of Telangana in Kurnool district ' Photograph: SnapsIndia