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Protests rock Seemandhra for third day

Hyderabad, Aug 2, 2013 (IANS):
Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's statue vandalized by anti Telangana protestors against the announcement of separate Telangana state at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday. PTI Photo

Protests rocked Rayalaseema and Andhra regions for the third day Friday against the decision to divide Andhra Pradesh by carving out separate Telangana state.

Shutdown continued in Seemandhra, as the two regions are called, with thousands of people coming on to the streets, demanding the centre to reverse its decision.
The protests intensified and took violent turn at few places with the protestors setting afire vehicles.

Buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) remained off the roads while shops, business establishments and educational institutions did not open for the third day.

Students, government and private employees, workers, lawyers, political activists irrespective of their affiliations, women and other sections of society are participating in the protests.

People are laid siege to the houses of central and state ministers, MPs and state legislators, demanding their resignations for 'Samaikya Andhra' or united Andhra.
The protestors continued to target the statues of late prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Two statues of Rajiv Gandhi were vandalized in West Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.

The agitators are taking out rallies, forming human chains, staging road and rail blockades and burning effigies of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders. The scenes are same in nine districts of coastal Andhra and four districts of Rayalaseema.

Anantapur town remained tense for the third day in a row. Protestors set afire two private buses in the town. As a precautionary measure, police sent home students staying in private hostels. Employees of APSRTC, BSNL, Life Insurance Corporation and electricity department participated in rallies.

Protestors damaged some vehicles at Dharmapuri in Vijaynagaram district. Police baton charged the protestors, who went on a rampage. A car was set afire in Tirupati town. Buses going towards Tirumala temple were stopped, causing inconvenience to pilgrims.

In Visakhapatnam state Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao's house was surrounded by students and employees, who demanded his resignation. At Narsipatnam in Visakhapatnam district, protestors laid siege to the house of another state Minister P. Balaraju.

Hunger strike by some students at Andhra University in Visakhapatnam entered the fourth day.

In Vijayawada, students formed human chain, causing huge traffic jam on the highway. Women also took part in the protests. APSRTC buses remained confined to depots.

At Bapatla in Guntur district, protestors laid siege to the house of Central Minister Panabaka Lakshmi, demanding her resignation. In Tenali, protestors laid siege to the house of assembly Speaker N. Manohar.

In Guntur town, a youth attempted self-immolation but he was arrested by the police. Unidentified people set afire the Bharatiya Janata Party office.

Protests continued in West Godavari district. At Jangareddygudem, protestors damaged a statue of Rajiv Gandhi.


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