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Partial response to Telangana bandh
Published on 13 Feb. 2010 11:59 PM IST
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The day-long shutdown call by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of students to protest the terms of reference of the Srikrishna panel, formed on the issue of carving Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh, evoked partial response Saturday. Normal life remain unaffected in most parts of Hyderabad and three of nine districts of Telangana region with the state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation running a majority of its buses. But shops and business establishments remained closed in districts like Medak, Mahabubnagar, Karimnagar, Warangal, Nizamabad and Adilabad districts. Protesters damaged six buses in Warangal district. They also set afire Congress party office in Bhupalapally in the same district. Road transport officials clarified that they had not suspended bus services as Andhra Pradesh High Court recently directed it not to stop buses in advance. The corporation is running 60 percent of its bus services despite the shutdown. An official said in view of Mahashivratri they withdrew 20 to 25 percent bus services due to fall in number of commuters. Activists of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other pro-Telangana groups took to the streets at several places, staging demonstrations and blocking vehicles. As a preventive measure, police have arrested dozens of pro-Telangana leaders since Friday night. Police also took into custody protesters who were going around in various towns forcing shops to close. Anticipating violent protests by students, police and paramilitary forces have been deployed at Osmania University campus here. The campus has been the nerve centre of the agitation for a separate state. The students’ JAC, which has given the call for the shutdown, is likely to stage protests at the university later Saturday. The shutdown call has been backed by the JAC of all political parties. In Hyderabad, police imposed prohibitory orders, banning public meetings, rallies and processions for a week. The all-party JAC has rejected the terms of reference which they said were against the Dec 9 statement by the central government to initiate the process of formation of Telangana state. According to the seven terms of reference announced by the central government Friday, the five-member panel will consider both the demands for separate Telangana state and for maintaining the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh. The committee, which has been asked to submit its report by Dec 31, is holding its first meeting in New Delhi Saturday. Telangana panel holds its first meeting The government-appointed Telangana panel headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna held its first meeting here Saturday and decided to issue a public notice inviting political parties and organisations to give their views on the issue of a separate state. “Once the government issues the notice, we will go to Andhra Pradesh and meet up with these groups,” V.K. Duggal, former union home secretary and member of the five-member committee, told IANS. The meeting also took stock of the seven-point terms of reference announced by the home ministry Friday and discussed a roadmap to proceed on the issues. Chief among the terms of reference was to examine the demands of a separate state of Telangana as well as the demands for maintaining the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh. The committee will also review developments in the state since its formation and their impact on the progress and development of the different regions. Other committee members are Ranbir Singh, vice chancellor of the National Law University, Delhi; Abu Saleh Shariff, senior research fellow in International Food Policy Research Institute, Delhi; and Rabinder Kaur, professor at the department of humanities and social sciences at Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi. Meanwhile, police detained five students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, who held a protest outside Vigyan Bhavan here, the venue of the meeting. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has rejected the terms of reference announced by the government looking into the issue of statehood for Telangana. TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, whose 11-day fast in December had forced the central government to announce that the process for formation of Telangana state would be initiated, said the terms were unacceptable to people of Telangana. The TRS described the terms as “baseless, meaningless and mindless” and announced that its MPs and legislators would quit. Legislators of the ruling Congress party and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said they would take a decision on resignations at the all-party Joint Action Committee (JAC) that meets later Saturday to chalk out its course of action.

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