The Union Cabinet’s nod for Telangana did not sink well with the integrationists as protests rocked the temple town on Friday.
Owing to the 48-hour bandh call, the ever bustling pilgrim destination turned gloomy with smoke billowing and black flags occupying the skyline. Samaikyandhra supporters blocked every junction in the city by burning tyres and logs. Commuters had to chart other routes to reach their destinations as protestors deflated tyres of vehicles at some junctions.
Tough time for devotees
Devotees arriving at Tirupati had to walk from railway station to Alipiri bus stand as all modes of transportation were suspended. Samaikyandhra agitators blocked the entry and exit points to Tirumala with the intention of isolating it from the rest of the city. They pitched a tent at the entrance and raised anti-bifurcation slogans. Agitators even deflated the tyres of buses carrying TTD employees.
Some pilgrims trekked uphill, while some squatted at the bus stand and Padala Mandapam. The TTD offered some respite to the pilgrims by supplying food and water at regular intervals.
Tirupati Samaikyandhra JAC’s (SAPS) bid to organise rail roko was foiled by the police as they arrested them at the station entrance and moved to the Tirupati East Police Station. Various JACs in the city choked up the roads at their respective protest camps. Vehicles on the Tirupati-Chennai highway in Puttur town came to a standstill as protestors organised a blockade. The bandh call remained largely peaceful barring few stray incidents.
Politicians bear the brunt
Blaming politicians for the current turmoil in the state, members of Tirupati Employees JAC tore down flexi banners at protest camps organised by the political leaders.
They censured them for not acting on time and upholding the sentiments of Seemandhra people who elected them.
Some of them even beat themselves with slippers for committing the mistake of electing them.
The agitators disconnected power supply to the residence of Tirupati MP Chinta Mohan, though grapevine has it that the extreme step was in response to his bill arrears.