Andhra Pradesh formation day celebrations began Monday morning amid protests in Telangana, where groups fighting for a separate state are observing the anniversary as a ‘black day’.
Tension prevailed in parts of Telangana as protestors tried to disrupt the official celebrations while dozens of leaders of various parties and their activists were arrested.
Osmania University students tried to stop Chief Minister K Rosaiah’s convoy at Ameerpet here when he was heading towards NTR Stadium to attend the main official celebrations. Police arrested members of Osmania University Joint Action Committee (JAC), who were demanding that he not celebrate the day in view of the demand for Telangana state.
Rosaiah later hoisted the national flag and reviewed a colourful parade, which was held amid tight security arrangements. Police also took into custody students at the Indira Park near the venue when they were trying to release black balloons.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) activists also staged protests at the residence of the minister for information and public relations J. Geeta Reddy. Police arrested TRS legislator Harish Rao and other protestors.
TRS, Telangana Praja Front, all-party Telangana Joint Action Committee, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Telangana leaders of the ruling Congress party and main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have called for a boycott of the celebrations.
Pro-Telangana groups have also called for observing the day as ‘black day’ or ‘betrayal day’. They had urged the government not to celebrate formation day as this would hurt the sentiments of Telangana people.
Protests rocked Telangana districts as they tried to disrupt the official celebrations. Over 200 protestors were arrested in Warangal. Activists of TRS and other parties also hoisted black flags on government buildings.
Police arrested leaders of pro-Telangana groups in various districts as a precautionary measure.
Educational institutions remained closed in Hyderabad on an appeal by the Osmania University JAC.
TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu hoisted the national flag at NTR Tust Bhavan, the party headquarters and paid tributes to Telugu leader Potti Sriramulu, who died in December 1952 after a 56-day hunger strike to press the demand for a separate state for Telugus.
On September 1, 1953, Telugu-speaking Rayalseema and the coastal Andhra areas of Madras State were separated to form Andhra State with Kurnool as its capital.
It was on November 1, 1956 that Telangana, part of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad, was merged with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh, with Hyderabad as its capital.
Alleging injustice to Telangana by successive rulers from Andhra, Telangana groups have been demanding separate statehood for the region for the last four decades.
Telangana comprises 10 districts, including Hyderabad.(IANS)