Hyderabad, Aug 3: Protests rocked Rayalaseema and Andhra regions for the third day on Friday, against the decision to divide Andhra Pradesh by carving out a separate Telangana state.
The shutdown continued in Seemandhra, with thousands of people taking to the streets, demanding that the Centre reverse its decision.
The protests intensified and took a violent turn at few places with the protestors setting vehicles afire.
Buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) remained off the roads while shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained shut for the third day.
Students, government and private employees, workers, lawyers, as well as political activists irrespective of their affiliations, are participating in the protests. Employees of APSRTC, BSNL, Life Insurance Corporation and electricity department have also been protesting.
People have laid siege to the houses of several central and state ministers, MPs and state legislators, demanding their resignations for 'Samaikya Andhra' or united Andhra.
The protestors targeted the statues of late prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Two statues of Rajiv Gandhi were vandalized in West Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.
The protestors formed rallies, human chains, blocked road and rail traffic and burnt effigies of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders. Similar scenes are being currently reported in nine districts of coastal Andhra and four districts of Rayalaseema.
Anantapur town remains tense for the third day in a row. Protestors set afire two private buses today. As a precautionary measure, police have sent home students staying in private hostels.
Protestors damaged some vehicles at Dharmapuri in Vijaynagaram district. Police baton charged the protestors, who went on a rampage. A car was set afire in Tirupati town. Buses going towards Tirumala temple were stopped, causing inconvenience to pilgrims.
In Visakhapatnam, state Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao's house was surrounded by students and employees, who demanded his resignation. At Narsipatnam in Visakhapatnam district, protestors laid siege to the house of state minister P Balaraju.
Some Andhra University students in Vishakhapatnam are on a hunger strike since the last four days.
At Bapatla in Guntur district, protestors laid siege to the house of central minister Panabaka Lakshmi, demanding her resignation. In Tenali, protestors laid siege to the house of assembly speaker N Manohar.
In Guntur town, a youth attempted self-immolation but he was arrested by the police. Unidentified people set afire the Bharatiya Janata Party office in the town.
Protests also continued in West Godavari district. In Jangareddygudem, protestors damaged a statue of Rajiv Gandhi.