Tension remained high in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions which witnessed sporadic violence for the second consecutive day to condemn the Centre’s announcement on initiating the process for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

Tension remained high in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions which witnessed sporadic violence for the second consecutive day to condemn the Centre’s announcement on initiating the process for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Life was affected in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, where a bandh was observed.

Students of Sri Krishnadevaraya University went on the rampage in Anantapur town, setting ablaze BSNL’s optic fibre cables worth Rs. 30 lakh at its warehouse abutting the university and attacked a Reliance mobile phone tower. Thick smoke billowed over the town until fire engines doused the flames.

The students were protesting against Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement that the Centre’s decision to carve out a separate Telangana did not mean it would create other smaller States.

The agitators laid siege to the Itukalapalle police station near the university campus and forcibly released three students who were arrested on Friday. Policemen fled the station on seeing the enraged mob. Separately, groups of students attacked the Dharmavaram railway station and ransacked the reservation counter; police foiled another attempt to vandalise the Jangalapally railway station.

Inspector-General of Police (Law and Order) A.R. Anuradha told reporters that the agitators damaged 14 transport vehicles, including buses of the A.P. State Road Transport Corporation. Five trains were stopped and rasta roko was organised at 35 places. She said the situation was “very volatile” and additional forces had been rushed to both the regions.

In Nellore district, agitators, apparently upset with Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s announcement on Telangana, forcibly shut the gates of the Kandaleru reservoir across the Telugu Ganga Canal from where 2,000 cusecs of water from the Krishna is supplied to Chennai. Separately, an outfit called the Andhra Intellectual Forum gave a call to detain all Chennai-bound trains.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah appealed to the agitators to refrain from targeting Tamil Nadu and Tamilians. Talking to The Hindu, he said “Such developments are totally uncalled for and send the wrong signals. An isolated incident can result in more such similar actions,” he said and pointed out that a large number of Telugu speaking people resided in Chennai, Coimbatore and other parts of Tamil Nadu.

Centre seeks report

Meanwhile, the Centre has asked Mr. Rosaiah to submit a comprehensive report on the situation prevailing in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.

It asked him to specifically explain the different stages of the agitation and the steps taken by his government to restore peace. “I am sure they will give me proper advice on how to restore normalcy in the State after going through the report,” Mr. Rosaiah said.

The Chief Minister said in an interview that he would assess the situation arising out of the ongoing protests, which turned violent in some places, on Monday and advise Speaker N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on whether or not to continue the winter session of the Assembly.