Telangana protestors take fight to secretariat on Day 17
Telangana supporters on Thursday intensified their protests as part of the ongoing general strike that began on September 13. Mohammed Siddique reports
The indefinite strike by government employees in support of Telangana state further intensified as it entered Day 17 on Thursday. The generally abuzz Andhra Pradesh secretariat in Hyderabad was deserted, as the Telangana Joint Action Committee called for a bandh in protest against the highhandedness of the police and the deployment of forces within the complex.
Groups of employees took out processions inside the sprawling secretariat complex shouting slogans in support of a separate state. They expressed their anger over the arrest of striking drivers by the police on Wednesday.
About 20 people, who were taken in to custody by the police in secretariat, were released late on Wednesday's night after the threats of dire consequences by the employees.
"Our struggle will not stop till Telangana becomes a separate state. We are ready to make any sacrifice", said Narendar Rao, president of the Joint Action Committee.
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Image: RAF personnel deployed outside the Andhra secretariat in Hyderabad
'Agitation has scared CM Kiran Kumar Reddy away'
Striking employees pointed out that their agitation was so effective and successful that Andhra Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy also did not come to his office for the last several days and was running the administration from his home.
On Thursday, even newspaper vendors in Hyderabad decided to strike work. Responding to the call of the Newspapers Hawkers Association, took out a rally in the city demanding the formation of Telangana state. They also donated a day's earnings to the striking employees of the Road Transport Corporation.
Telangana Joint Action Committee convenor Professor Kodanda Ram was arrested by the police while he was on his way to interact with newspaper hawkers.
Image: A police vehicle damaged by Telangana supporrters
TJAC threatens to boycott Delhi-based news channels
Media organisations have come under severe criticism of Telangana supporters. While some Telugu newspapers and television channels owned by people from Andhra are being criticised by agitators for distorted reporting, the national media has been slammed for completely ignoring the 17-day strike and other protests across Telangana.
The federation of cable operators from Telangana has threatened to black out all the Delhi-based TV news channels if they do not give coverage to the movement.
Posters have been put up across the state capital call The Hindu newspaper anti-Telangana and anti-democratic. It said the Telangana people should complain to Julian Assange of Wikileaks against The Hindu.
Image: Police crack down on protestors in Hyderabad
TJAC delegation to meet President Patil in New Delhi
Condemning the media, Telangana Rashtra Samithi member of Legislative Assembly K T Rama Rao said that it was only obsessed with politics of Delhi. "It has no interest even if the people die in other places. This is very unfortunate," he said.
Opposing the idea of blacking out the channels he said he was appealing to the media to correct itself. He said that in an attempt to bring the national focus on Telangana issue, TJAC will very soon send a delegation to New Delhi to meet the president and other leaders.
Telangana agitators on Thursday also targeted the residences of the ministers and elected representatives who have not yet resigned. TJAC had given a call to lay a siege to their homes to pressure them to resign in support of Telangana.
Image: TRS MLA K T Rama Rao was picked up by the police for obstructing traffic on Wednesday
'TDP not serious about formation of Telangana'
In Nizamabad district tension prevailed as Telangana agitators targeted the bus carrying the Telugu Desam MLAs to Banswada constituency where by- election is due later this month. The agitators pelted stones at the bus at Bhiknoor in Nizamabad.
The 32 Telugu Desam MLAs who had submitted their resignations to the speaker on Wednesday had urged all the parties to boycott the by-elections. The by-elections were held after TDP MLA P Srinivas Reddy resigned and later joined the TRS.
The TDP suffered another setback in Nizamabad on Thursday with its MLA from Kamareddy Gampa Govardhan district resigning from the primary membership of the party. Govardhan, who also submitted his resignation to the assembly speaker's office, will be also be joining the TRS.
"I am doing this in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Telangana as the TDP was not serious about the formation of Telangana state and only TRS was fighting for the cause", he said.
In Warangal district, medical services were affected as the private hospitals and medical shops were closed for the day.
Image: An estimated 4.5 lakh auto rickshaws in Telangana region will be staying off the road over the weekend