‘United Andhra’ protests, shutdowns continue for eighth day

December 18th, 2009 - 2:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Hyderabad, Dec 18 (IANS) Protests and shutdowns continued for the eighth consecutive day Friday in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions against the proposed separate statehood to Telangana region.
Protests for “united Andhra” rocked almost all the districts in the two regions and normal life again came to a standstill in several areas.

Shops, business establishments, banks, petrol stations, theatres and all educational institutions remained closed and buses of the state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) went off the roads as a total shutdown began in Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts of south coastal Andhra.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from some areas in the three districts and also in parts of north coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.

Motorcycle rallies, meetings, sit-ins, road blockades, relay hunger strikes and innovative protests like protesters shaving their heads continued in most parts of the two regions.

A shutdown is also being observed in parts of Visakhaptanam, East Godavari and West Godavari districts.

Vijayawada city in Krishna district remained tense as Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislator D. Umamaheshwar Rao continued his ‘fast-unto-death’ in a hospital for the sixth day. He, along with two other TDP leaders, was forcibly shifted to the hospital by the police Thursday after their condition deteriorated.

The indefinite fast by Congress MP from Vijayawada L. Rajagopal and his supporters, meanwhile, entered the fourth day.

Protestors attacked a Federal Bank branch in Vijayawada and vandalised computers and furniture, police said. An office of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and a college were also attacked.

In Prakasam district’s Ongole town, a hotel, a petrol bunk, a canteen of RTC and an office of the electricity department were attacked by protesters forcibly enforcing the shutdown.

The shutdown forced RTC to suspend all its bus services in the three districts. It had been running only partial services for the last four days.

In Visakhapatnam, normal life was hit as protesters forced closure of central and state government offices and banks.

A shutdown is also on in Rajahmundry town of East Godavari district. Leaders of the Congress and TDP are also continuing their hunger strikes in Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and Visakhapatnam, the three districts in north coastal Andhra bordering Orissa.

In Kadapa district of Rayalaseema region, the hunger strike by Congress leader Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, brother of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, entered the fourth day. In Anantapur, TDP legislator Paritala Sunita’s fast entered the fifth day.

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