The 56th formation day of Andhra Pradesh was marked by protests and black flag demonstrations in Telangana with almost all ministers from the region staying away from the celebrations. Telangana activists in various districts of Telangana hoisted black flags on government and private buildings in response to the call given by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) to observe ‘betrayal day’.
Except two ministers from Hyderabad who were present at the main official function attended by Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy in the state capital, all the ministers from Telangana stayed away from the celebrations. District collectors hoisted the national flag at the main functions held in every district headquarter amid tight security arrangements. Fearing violent protests by Telangana groups as in the last two years, the ministers and ruling party legislators did not participate in the celebrations.
There was tension in Warangal town as Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislator Vinay Bhaskar disrupted the celebrations attended by the district collector. He along with his supporters barged into the venue, removed the banner from the dais and uprooted the mike.
According to eyewitnesses, the legislator fell unconscious as police used force to disperse the protestors. Police arrested the TRS leader and shifted him out. In Adilabad town, rebel legislator of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Jogu Ramana was arrested when he tried to disrupt the celebrations at police parade grounds.
Telangana activists also barged into government offices and hoisted the black flags in Khammam, Medak, Warangal and other districts. There were reports of clashes between protestors and police at some places.
The main official function at NTR Stadium in Hyderabad was held amid unprecedented security. The chief minister unfurled the national flag, reviewed the parade and distributed prizes among police and civil officials for their meritorious services. He addressed the gathering from behind a bullet proof podium, the first time that a chief minister has done so.
Hundreds of policemen and personnel from central paramilitary forces were deployed around the venue. Security personnel were also posted on high-rise buildings. Prohibitory orders were imposed around NTR Stadium to foil any attempt by Telangana protestors to disrupt elebrations. D. Nagender and Mukesh Goud, two of the three ministers from Hyderabad, attended the celebrations.
Telangana groups, fighting for separate statehood to the region, are observing formation day as ‘black day’ or ‘betrayal day’ to protest the merger of the region with then Andhra State on this day in 1956.
Telangana, part of erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad, was merged with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh, a state for Telugu speaking people with Hyderabad as its capital. Earlier on Sep 1, 1953, Telugu-speaking Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra areas of Madras State were separated to form Andhra State with Kurnool as its capital.
Telangana region, which comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad, is currently witnessing a movement for separate statehood. Telangana parties alleged that Andhra rulers betrayed the backward region by going back on all the assurances given at the time of merger.The New Indian Express