Hyderabad: Bandh in 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh's Seemandhra region on Wednesday in protest against the passage of the Telangana Bill passed off peacefully, even as additional security forces were deployed across the region as a precautionary measure, police said.
The bandh called by YSR Congress and Telugu Desam and supported by different organisations evoked partial response in most parts of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions (Seemandhra) while in few districts it was total, they said.
Samaikyandhra supporters in large numbers took to streets in Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, Anantapur, Kurnool, Kadapa, Chittoor, East and West Godavari districts and several other parts of the region and participated in protest rallies, formed human chains and resorted to road blockades and raised slogans against AICC president Sonia Gandhi.
"The bandh was peaceful. The situation is under control and observation," Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) VSK Kaumudi told PTI.
Security has been beefed up in Seemandhra region with deployment of additional forces including 25 more companies of central para-military forces and 13 companies of AP Special Police force, apart from the existing security forces, he said, adding that the district police have already been asked to be on alert and thwart any attempts to disturb law and order.
Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) bus services across Seemandhra region were hit due to the bandh, while educational institutions - government as well as private - remained closed in most parts. Shops and business establishments were also shut at many places.
"The bandh was partial in Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. There were protests at many places and bus services were affected in the morning hours. However, normalcy was restored by late afternoon. Even shops and commercial establishments were opened by evening," DIG (Visakhapatnam Range) P Umapathi said.
"The bandh went off peacefully and it had partial impact in Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore districts, though police took some protesters into preventive custody," IGP (Guntur Range) P.V. Sunil Kumar said. Nearly 58 per cent of the total bus services run by APSRTC in the 13 districts was affected by to bandh.
"Some services were stopped by the agitators while we stopped some services in the morning as a precautionary measure," an APSRTC official said.
DIG (Kurnool Range) T Murali Krishna said shops and business establishments remained closed in Kurnool and Kadapa districts till evening and buses also did not ply, though the situation was peaceful.
The bandh evoked partial response in Anantapur district and no violent incidents were reported in Anantapur, Chittoor and Tirupati, DIG (Anantapur Range) B Balakrishna said. A report from Vijayawada said the bandh was total and peaceful in Krishna district.
The united Andhra Pradesh supporters expressed anger over the decision to bifurcate the state by observing bandh. Almost all educational institutions declared holiday in view of the bandh.
Most of the business establishments also remained closed. The APSRTC suspended most of the services after 9 am. YSRCP leaders and activists were not allowing the buses to move outside. The TDP leaders also joined the protests.
A report from East Godavari district said the bandh was peaceful and complete.
Normal life was disrupted in the district, as over 800 buses remained stationed in nine RTC depots. TDP and YSRCP activists staged sit-in at Amalapuram, Razole and Ravulapalem bus depots to protest the passage of Telangana Bill.
"We suspended the bus services to various destinations in the district as a precautionary measures," an RTC spokesman said.
The protestors also burnt the effigies of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
The agitators said they burnt the effigies of Modi and Swaraj for extending support to the passage of Telangana Bill in Lok Sabha. Educational institutions, commercial and financial institutions remained closed in East Godavari with protests being held in various parts including Amalapuram, Kothapet, Tuni and Ravulapalem.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kakinada has postponed the examinations scheduled to be held here in view of bandh and a fresh schedule will be announced for it, JNTU registrar Prasad Rao said in a statement.
Police sources said elaborate security arrangements were made and pickets posted at houses of VVIPs, including that of Union Ministers MM Pallam Raju, and party offices in the district. The bandh was total and peaceful in Kadapa district.
The protesters resorted to roadblocks, held dharnas, took out rallies while medicos, who also expressed their support to the bandh, attended only emergency cases. At least 20 workers of YSR Congress were taken into custody in connection with the protests and later let off. Over 900 buses remained in the bus depots in Kadapa....