Normal life in Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra remained completely disrupted for the third consecutive day as people continued to seethe with anger against the Congress and their own elected representatives for not opposing bifurcation of the State.
The day was marked by bandhs, ‘rasta rokos’ with people venting their ire at the Gandhi family by damaging statues of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi and also burning their effigies, apart from burning buses. Bus services several parts of the region were disrupted and several educational institutions remained closed. Human chains, sit-ins on the road, demonstrations and other forms of protests were a familiar sight across the two regions.
In Bhimavaram, Irriki Srinivas (25) hanged himself, leaving behind a message that he was pained at the decision of the United Progressive Alliance Government to divide Andhra Pradesh. He took his life after participating in a pro-united State unity demonstration at Bhimavaram, said Mantena Venkata Suryanarayana Raju, Chairman of the non-political Joint Action Committee for Samaikyandhra.
In Srikakulam, former Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao announced that he would challenge the bifurcation by moving the Supreme Court.
The agitation in Rajam turned violent with people trying to storm the camp office of Minister for Medical & Health, Kondru Muralimohan. Dozens were injured when police used force to disperse mobs.
In Vizianagaram, the Telugu Desam-sponsored bandh evoked good response and protesters reiterated their demand that Transport Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee President Botcha Satyanarayana quit his position and join the agitation.
A heavy police presence foiled attempts by TDP leaders and their supporters to register their protest before Mr. Satyanarayana’s residence.
The Bokaro-Alleppey Express was stopped for about 20 minutes at the railway station, while ‘rasta rokos’ elsewhere in the district headquarters town and a rally disrupted normal life.
Railway police act tough
Protesters laid siege to the residences of Union Minister Panabaka Lakshmi at Baptla and Speaker Nadendla Manohar in Tenali of Guntur district, demanding their resignations, even as police dispesed them. When the Tirupati-Kakinada Port passenger train was stopped at Bapatla, some of the agitators were taken into custody by the Railway Police.
In Vijayawada, former Mayor and PCC general secretary M. Ratnabindu announced her resignation from the party post, to register her protest against what she called, the ‘unilateral decision of the UPA Government’ to divide A.P.
Traffic on the highways connecting the temple town of Tirupati and Chittoor district with neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka was badly affected as agitators cut trees at several places. YSR Congress MLA B. Karunakar Reddy led a ‘rasta roko’ at Sankarambadi Circle and staged a dharna.
Ten protesters were arrested and remanded in Kadapa, for burning the Indira Gandhi statue at Indiranagar.
In Anantapur, there were back-to-back protests in one form or the other. People from all sections of society spilled over on the roads voicing out their anguish at the proposed bifurcation. Teachers and students alike, at the Sri Krishnadevaraya University squatted on the State highway, bringing traffic to a halt.
Tamanna feels Samaikya heat
In Visakhapatnam, film star Tamanna Bhatia found herself in a tricky situation at the airport when Samaikyandhra Porata Samithi leaders asked her to support their agitation. Tamanna replied that as a film actor, she was not confined to any region. “I belong to India,” she said and declined to make comments on political issues.
Tamanna had come to the city from Chennai to participate in a film shooting at Araku Valley. She boarded a car at the airport along with her assistant to proceed for the shooting.
The Porata Samithi leaders and activists, who were at the airport to receive Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao and take him for the protests being organised in the city, saw her and surrounded her car and raised ‘Jai Samaikhyandhra’ slogans.
Declines to raise slogan
Samithi president G.A. Narayana Rao and other members asked her to say: “Jai Samaikhyandhra” and express solidarity with the agitation. Tamanna reiterated that as a film actor, she was not confined to any region. The agitators detained her car for about 15 minutes and relented on the intervention of the police.