HYDERABAD, Jan.20: Normal life in Hyderabad and nine other districts of the Telangana region came to a halt as a 48-hour shutdown called by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of students began on Wednesday to protest the delay in the formation of a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh. Since Monday, two students have killed themselves over the issue.
Fresh violence was reported at the Osmania University, the nerve centre of the Telangana crisis, in Hyderabad today with police having to resort to lathicharge and injuring some students.
The state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) suspended its bus services fearing attacks by bandh supporters following which office-goers had a tough time in reaching their destinations, while shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in Telangana districts like Medak, Nizamabad, Nalgonda and Karimnagar.
Auto drivers and other private vehicle owners had a field day as commuters paid high fares demanded by them. Petrol pumps remained closed at various places in Hyderabad since late last night.
All political parties have supported the shutdown. The JAC called for a strike after two students, depressed over the delay in carving out a separate Telangana state, committed suicide.
K. Venugopal Reddy, a final year student of MCA, set himself ablaze at Osmania University here late Monday. Suvarnamma, a first year BSc student in Mahabubnagar district, set herself ablaze late Tuesday.
Tension prevailed at Osmania University campus for the second consecutive day as students continued their protest with the body of Reddy. The JAC leaders, who sat in front of the Arts College building with the body through Tuesday night, said they would not allow it to be moved unless all MPs and state legislators from the region resign in support of the Telangana statehood demand.
In an attempt to shift the body, police brought additional forces to the campus Wednesday morning.
The self-immolations triggered angry protests by students across Telangana. The students’ JAC called for a two-day shutdown Wednesday and Thursday. The politicians’ JAC, which comprises all parties including the ruling Congress, has supported the shutdown for Wednesday.
The JAC also announced that all elected representatives would submit their resignations from Wednesday and those who have already done so would press for their acceptance.
Five legislators of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and one of Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) began a sit-in at the house of assembly speaker Kirankumar Reddy Tuesday night, urging him to immediately accept their resignations. The speaker, however, sought two to three days to take a decision.
With the legislators continuing their protest, the police took them into custody. They were later released.
All 39 legislators of main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have also decided to press the speaker to accept their resignations.