AP day celebrations marred by Telangana protests
Ransacking of the residences of a minister and a Congress MLA in Hyderabad, burning of effigies of other ministers, attempt to stop Chief Minister's convoy, noisy protest demonstration and boycott of celebrations marked the 55th anniversary of the formation of Andhra Pradesh on Monday.
Main official function, under the shadows of unprecedented security, was held at the NTR Stadium in Hyderabad, which was turned in to a fortress by thousands of policemen and para military personnel to keep the protestors at bay.
Text: Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad
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Image: Pro-Telangana activists protest against Andhra Pradesh Formation Day in Hyderabad on Monday
The celebrations wore a deserted look
Though the ceremonial parade with the school children and several units of state armed police participating in it was colorful, the stadium wore a deserted look as the people kept away deterred by the strict security and fears of trouble.
Image: Empty chairs in the AP Foundation Day celebrations in Hyderabad on Monday
'Formation Day' for some, 'Betrayal Day' for others
Image: Police arrests Telangana protestors in Hyderabad
Black balloons of protest
But the trouble started right from the morning as a group of students from Osmania University tried to block the way of the Chief Minister K Rosaiah when he was going from his residence to NTR Stadium to attend the official ceremony.
Police arrested 50 students. They also seized more than 200 black balloons, which the pro Telangana activists had brought to release.
Image: Protestors display black balloons of protest in Hyderabad
Minister's house ransacked
In the other incidents, Telangana Rashtra Samiti workers attacked the house of minister for information Dr J Geeta Reddy. The workers led by senior TRS legislator T Harish Rao had gathered there to stop the minister from attending official function in Medak district, but she had left the place.
The angry workers, shouting slogans in support of separate Telangana state, went berserk, throwing stones at the residence, uprooting her posters and burning them.
Image: Protestors ransack AP minister Dr Geeta Reddy's residence
Heavy police deployment to tackle protestors
In another similar incident, a group of students from Osmania University also attacked the house of Congress MLA Dr M Shashidhar Reddy protesting against his presence at the official celebrations.
They broke the window panes and damaged other property. Police arrested six leaders of students joint action committee in connection with the attack.
Tension gripped the campus where students hoisted black flag atop the Arts College Building and took out a massive protest rally. However, police foiled their attempt to break out of the campus.
Image: Heavy police deployment to tackle protestors in Hyderabad on Monday
'It's shameful to celebrate when people of Telangana are against it'
Black flags were also hoisted at several government buildings, Charminar and the TRS headquarters as expression of resentment against the celebrations at a time when the people of Telangana wanted to part ways with Andhra region.
TJAC convenor Prof Kodanda Ram, along with other supporters, was arrested by the police when he held a dharna on the National Highway No 9 at Hayatnagar.
Speaking to the media he said 'it was shameful that the government had organised the official function under police security when the people of Telangana were against any celebrations this time.'
Image: Police chase away pro Telangana protestors in Hyderabad on Monday
Telangana parties had given a call to boycott celebrations
Traffic on the NH 9 was also jammed for several miles by the Telangana supporters who closed the road in Kodad near 'Telangana-Andhra' border.
Hundreds of protestors were also arrested in Warangal, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Medak and other places when they tried to disrupt the official celebrations.
In Warangal, where people stayed away from the official celebrations, police laid a siege to the Kakatiya University to confine the students to the campus.
All the pro Telangana parties and organisations had given a call to the people and the public representatives of all the parties to boycott the State Formation Day and observe it as a Black Day or Betrayal Day as Telangana was forcibly merged with Andhra region on November 1, 1956 to form Andhra Pradesh.
Image: TRS activists protesting in Hyderabad on Monday
A curfew-like situation
Protestors hoisted black flags at the government offices especially of the revenue and Panchayat Raj departments and even on some police stations in different parts of Telangana.
Schools and colleges were voluntarily closed in the region in view of the protests. Lawyers held a demonstration in front of Ranga Reddy district courts in LB Nagar.
Image: A curfew-like situation in Hyderabad on Monday
Andhra Pradesh on the boil
A black flag was also hoisted near historic monument Charminar by Kavita, daughter of K Chandrasekhar Rao. She along with the women activists of TJAC also held a silent demonstration. Two Muslim women waved black flag from atop Chariminar. A senior TRS leader N Narasimha Reddy hoisted black flag at the TRS headquarters in Hyderabad.
Ministers also faced the wrath of the pro Telangana protestors at different places. Minister D K Aruna, who had gone to Adilabad to attend the official function, was not allowed to come out of the guest house by the pro Telangana protestors.
Effigies of the home minister Sabita Indra Reddy and health minister D Nagendar were burnt in Tandur and Hyderabad.
Image: TRS activists and Osmania university students observe Black Day in Hyderabad on Monday
Dr J Geeta Reddy shocked over attack on her house charged the TRS with provoking violence and endangering the lives of the students. "Where was the need to attack my house when I am fighting for Telangana from with in the Congress party. Even my mother and a Dalit leader Eshwari Bai had also fought for Telangana", she said.
Telugu Desam party also celebrated the AP Formation Day. Its president Nara Chandrababu Naidu accompanied by several Telangana leaders hoisted the national flag at the party headquarters.
However, a section of Congress leaders including members of Parliament from Telangana region boycotted the celebrations evoking condemnation from with in the party. "These people are traitors and action should be taken against them," government whip Shailajanath said.
Image: AP Chief Minister K Rosaiah during the Foundation Day celebrations in Hyderabad on Monday