Tension prevails as staff of two regions stage parallel demonstrations

Vidyut Soudha, the energy department headquarters, witnessed tense moments yet again on Monday when employees hailing from Telangana and Seemandhra regions conducted parallel meetings for and against separate Telangana State.

The Telangana employees staged a lunch-hour demonstration at Vidyut Soudha protesting the Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s recent remarks on the inevitable power crisis in the region if the State was bifurcated. The employees led by Telangana Electricity Engineers’ Association representative Ch. Raghu criticised the Chief Minister for his attempts to create panic among the people through his comments.

He dared the Chief Minister to prove his fears or cooperate in the formation of the separate State. Trouble began when the Seemandhra employees staged an impromptu dharna raising slogans in favour of united State. Visalandhra Mahasabha leader Parakala Prabhakar, who arrived at the venue, extended solidarity with the staff agitating for the status quo and raised slogans that bifurcation of the State would not be allowed under any circumstances.

Reacting strongly, the Telangana employees raised slogans in favour of the separate State and tried to obstruct Mr. Prabhakar’s speech leading to tension on the premises. As a section of employees tried to surge forward, the police posted in good numbers prevented them from doing so leading to mild scuffle and subsequent arrest of a few members.

TRS MLA K.T. Rama Rao who rushed to the spot on learning about the incident extended his solidarity with the agitating staff. Mr. Rama Rao charged Mr. Kiran Reddy with attempting to stall the process of separate State through his “baseless” claims. “TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao has already challenged the Chief Minister for an open debate on the issues he raised, but there is no response from the latter,” he said. On the status of Hyderabad, he said the city formed the heart of Telangana and it could not be separated. He warned the Centre against any attempts to make the capital a union territory claiming that the TRS as also the MIM would launch an intense agitation against such moves.

Unique protest rally

Our Special Correspondent adds: The Secretariat Seemandhra employees, who had been boycotting their duties condemning the Congress party’s decision to bifurcate the State, registered their protest in a novel way here on Monday by taking out a rally with flowers in their ears and enacting a skit by donning the roles of Congress leaders and Ministers including AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

The play which mocked the Union Ministers from Seemandhra and portrayed them as ‘spineless sycophants’ who dare not utter anything in front of Ms. Sonia Gandhi or convey forcefully people’s resentment against State bifurcation, was well received.

Municipal Administration Minister M. Mahidhar Reddy, who was gheraoed by the employees, said they had already submitted their resignations against the decision to bifurcate the State.