Hyderabad, other parts of Telangana hit by rail blockade (Lead)

March 1st, 2011 - 10:40 am ICT by IANS  

Telangana Hyderabad, March 1 (IANS) The rail traffic in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh Tuesday came to a grinding halt as protesters demanding separate statehood to the region squatted on railway tracks.The protesters of various pro-Telangana groups stopped dozens of trains in and around Hyderabad, Nalgonda, Warangal, Nizamabad, Khammam and other districts even as railway authorities have cancelled 25 express trains causing severe inconvenience to passengers.

The ‘rail blockade’ called by Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), began at 6 a.m. Tuesday and will continue for 12 hours, to demand the central government to introduce a bill in parliament for formation of separate Telangana state.

Raising slogans of ‘Jai Telangana’ and holding flags and banners, activists of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) and other constituents of the JAC, squatted on the tracks to stop the trains.

At a few places, police arrested the protesters.

Telangana leaders of the Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Praja Front of Maoist sympathiser Gaddar and Telangana lawyers’ forum are also supporting the rail blockade.

The protesters led by TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao’s daughter Kavita blocked trains at Bibi Nagar near Hyderabad.

Hyderabad-Tirupati Narayanadri Express and Secunderabad-Howrah Express trains were stopped in Nalgonda district. The protesters stopped Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam Godavari Express at Moulali on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

South Central Railway (SCR) has cancelled as many as 25 express trains, including Hyderabad-Delhi AP Express, Hyderabad-Mumbai Hussain Sagar Express, Yeshwantpur-Secunderabad Garib Rath, Vijayawada-Secunderabad Satavahana Express, Guntur-Vikarabad Palnadu Express, Tirupati-Hyderabad Rayalaseema Express, Guntur-Secunderabad Golconda Express and Gudur-Secunderabad Simhapuri Express.

All passenger trains in Telangana region and all MMTS (local) trains in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad have also been cancelled.

Secunderabad railway station, one of the biggest stations in the country, wore a deserted look Tuesday morning as SCR cancelled most of the trains.

The movement of trains was badly hit at Kazipet in Warangal district, one of the busiest railway junctions.

Both police and railway authorities suspect sabotage by protesters. They have warned the protesters that strict action would be taken against them if they resort to attacks on passengers or railway property.

The police are patrolling important trunk routes and have beefed up security at railway stations to prevent any untoward incidents.

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