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Shutdown paralyses Telangana

December 30, 2009

Normal life came to a grinding halt in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana Wednesday as the day-long shutdown called by all-party Joint Action Committee (JAC), demanding statehood to the region, evoked total response.

Transport services were paralysed while shops, business establishments, petrol bunks, cinema theatres, banks, offices and educational institutions remained closed.

State-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) suspended all its bus services, including those which pass through Telangana to major cities like Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Kurnool and Tirupati in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.

More than 9,000 buses went off the roads. In Hyderabad alone, 3,400 buses did not come out of the depots, causing severe inconvenience to commuters.

South Central Railway (SCR) has cancelled 165 trains, including 87 express and passenger trains, as a precautionary measure. The railway authorities also cancelled 46 suburban trains and 32 MMTS (Multi-Modal Transport System) services in Hyderabad.

The roads in this Andhra Pradesh capital and major towns like Warangal, Karimnagar and Nizamabad wore a deserted look as even auto-rickshaws joined the shutdown.

Government employees, lawyers, industrial workers, students and people’s organisations in the region also struck work to back the demand for formation of Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.

The shutdown, the fifth since the beginning of Telangana agitation a month ago, affected the work in IT/ITeS and pharma companies in this technology hub. Some IT companies made arrangements for the accommodation of their employees in hotels near their offices to ensure uninterrupted work while others declared a holiday as a precautionary measure.

Police imposed prohibitory orders in Hyderabad and surrounding areas. Additional police and paramilitary forces were deployed in Cyberabad, the IT district housing IT giants like Microsoft, Google and Mahindra Satyam.

Police have also made tight security arrangements in areas inhabited by people from Andhra region in view of the recent attacks on film shootings.

As many as 40 companies of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed in Telangana, including 15 in Hyderabad. Additional police forces from neighbouring states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra were also deployed.

The shutdown has been called by JAC to demand the central government immediately initiate the process for formation of Telangana state.

JAC, comprising ruling Congress party, Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and organisations of students, employees and workers, was formed on Dec 24, a day after the central government made a second statement on the Telangana issue.

This statement made after days of protests in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions called for wide ranging consultations on granting of statehood to Telangana. It evoked strong protests in Telangana as it was seen as a u-turn by the central government, which had announced Dec 9 that the process for formation of Telangana state would be initiated.

The Dec 9 statement followed 11 days of mass protests in Telangana and hunger strike by TRS president K. Chandrasekhara Rao.

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