A day-long Hyderabad shutdown called by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) on Friday as part of the ongoing general strike for a separate Telangana state evoked partial response.
Shops, business establishments and petrol bunks were closed in some parts of the Andhra Pradesh capital but remained open in others. Majority of the educational institutions declared a holiday as a precautionary measure.
‘More crowd than normal days’
While buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) remained off the roads for the 12th consecutive day, many auto-rickshaws were plying in areas like Nampally, Abids and Secunderabad.
The shutdown also did not evoke any response in the Old City but was near total in some areas, especially on the outskirts.
The poor response in some areas is being attributed to the ongoing Navratra festivities. Large number of devotees thronged the temples while some markets were abuzz with shopping.
"In fact there is more crowd than on normal days," said a shopper at Monda Market in Secunderabad.
Talks in Delhi
Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief is today scheduled to arrive in New Delhi to seek an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi over the statehood issue.
The Telangana Joint Action Committee had earlier demanded a stand on the issue by the COngress and the party’s state in-charge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, is also set to submit a report over the weekend.
The government employees in Telangana region continued their strike for the 18th day while their counterparts from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions reached the state secretariat and other offices amid tight police security.
Many private vehicles were plying on the roads.
The Information Technology companies were largely unaffected as the majority of cabs were on the roads and railways were also operating local trains to Hitec City, the IT hub housing many software giants.
First Hyderabad-only move
This is the first time since the general strike began in the region that the JAC has called a shutdown only in Hyderabad.
As the strike by various sections of people has already affected normal life in nine other districts, the JAC is focusing on Hyderabad, where a large number of people from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions live.
Policemen and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel escorted the buses carrying employees from the two regions to the state secretariat.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao has appealed to the people to make the shutdown a success. Confident that the separate state would soon become a reality, he assured people that there would be no shutdowns in the near future.
The ongoing strike by government employees has paralysed the administration in Telangana, which comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad.
The strike by employees in state-owned Singareni Collieries has affected power generation, forcing the authorities to impose cuts in supply to domestic, agriculture and industrial sectors.
Government and private educational institutions in most parts of Telangana were closed for the last 15 days as teachers were also participating in the strike.
Public transport also remained paralysed in Telangana as employees of the RTC continued their strike. The authorities, however, were operating 200 to 300 buses in Hyderabad every day with the help of private drivers.
Meanwhile, police stepped up security in Hyderabad to prevent any untoward incident during the shutdown. Police Commissioner A.K. Khan said miscreants would be dealt with firmly.
Unidentified people on Thursday night set afire a private bus at Dundigal on the city outskirts.
The bus belonged to Diwakar Travels owned by Congress leader and former minister J.C. Diwakar Reddy. The legislator from Rayalaseema region is opposed to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.(Agencies)