Hyderabad, Aug 19 IANS | 2 years ago

Protests for and against separate statehood to Telangana continue to rock government offices in Hyderabad, leading to tension with the employees of Telangana and Seemandhra nearly coming to blows.

The Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra) employees lodged their protest when police prevented them from staging a sit-in on the premises of Vidyut Soudha, the head office of electricity department.

They wanted to protest during lunch hour to demand the central government reverse its decision to carve out separate Telangana state. The protest was planned in support of the ongoing indefinite strike by employees in Seemandhra.

When police refused permission, the employees had heated argument with them and it even led to a scuffle. The protestors raised slogans of 'Jai Samaikhya Andhra' in support of the united state.

Prakala Prabhakar, leader of Vishalandhra Mahasabha, which is opposed to the state's bifurcation, reached there in support of Seemandhra employees.

Employees from Telangana also raised counter slogans, leading to tension.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader K. Tarakarama Rao rushed to Vidyut Soudha and addressed the Telangana employees. He condemned the attacks on Telangana people visiting Tirupati and also on Telangana employees in some parts of Rayalaseema.

State secretariat, Vidyut Soudha and some other government offices in Hyderabad have been witnessing protests by Seemandhra employees, whose indefinite strike entered the second week Monday.

The protests and counter protests are leading to tension between the two sides.

Leaders from both Telangana and Seemandhra are also visiting these offices, adding to the tension on almost daily basis.

At the secretariat, Seemandhra employees Monday continued their protest. Dressed as Congress leaders and chanting the name of its party chief Sonia Gandhi, they staged a unique protest, mocking the Congress leaders from Seemandhra for not opposing the party decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.

The employees also mobbed Municipal Administration Minister Mahidhar Reddy, demanding his resignation in support of united Andhra Pradesh.

Over four lakh government employees in 13 districts of Seemandhra and also in Hyderabad, which is geographically a part of Telangana, are on indefinite strike since Aug 13.

Undeterred by the government's decision to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), the employees have threatened to intensify the stir from Sep 1.

Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) Association, which represents Seemandhra employees, has ruled out withdrawing the strike. The association president P. Ashok Babu said the strike would continue till the central government withdraws its decision.

The employees argue that bifurcation would badly affect their interests, particularly in Hyderabad. The assurances by Congress and other leaders in Telangana that they would get full protection in Hyderabad have failed to convince them.

People from Seemandhra account for about 30 percent of Hyderabad's seven million population. Majority of the migrants are government employees, students and traders.

The protests by various sections of people in Seemandhra continued for the 20th day. The strike by employees paralysed the administration. Over 12,000 buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) remained off the roads for the seventh day.

(Posted on 19-08-2013)