Pro-Telangana activists call for rail blockade March 1 (Lead)

February 25th, 2011 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Hyderabad, Feb 25 (IANS) The movement for separate statehood to Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh is set to further intensify with an apex body of activists planning an Egypt-like protest from next month.The activists will sit on railway tracks in every village in the region March 1 to bring rail traffic to a halt.

The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) Friday called for a 24-hour “rail roko” beginning 6 a.m. on March 1.

“The way Egyptians sat at Tahrir Square (Cairo), Telangana people will occupy every inch of the railway tracks to send a strong message to the central government,” JAC convener M. Kodandaram told reporters.

The JAC also plans to mobilise five million people to lay siege to Hyderabad in the second week of March in what is seen as a final phase of the movement for a separate state.

The JAC, which comprises Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other political and mass organisations, hopes that people from all 10 Telangana districts, including Hyderabad, would participate in the protest.

The activists want that the central government should immediately initiate the process for the formation of Telangana state.

According to Kodandaram, the protesters would block roads and not leave until the central government agrees to form a separate state.

This is expected to be the biggest-ever gathering for Telangana. The JAC is confident of a massive turnout as the movement has intensified across the region during the last one month.

Telangana leaders of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Friday declared their support to the protests planned by JAC.

Buoyed by the huge public response to the two-day Telangana shutdown Tuesday-Wednesday and the impact it had even in Hyderabad, the JAC plans to go all-out for achieving its goal.

It Friday began holding rallies to express solidarity with about 300,000 government employees who are continuing their non-cooperation movement since Feb 17. The rallies will continue Saturday.

Rejecting the government’s appeal to call off the movement, the Telangana employees have also threatened to go on an indefinite strike after March 5 if the central government failed to make a clear announcement on Telangana.

The JAC leaders claim that the administration has already come to a standstill with the non-cooperation movement. The lawyers are also boycotting the courts while university students are also participating in the protests for a separate state.

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