Hyderabad, Oct 4: Shops, businesses, transport and educational institutions were closed in all 13 districts of Seemandhra - as the Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions are jointly called - as a 48-hour shutdown began Friday morning to protest the union cabinet's decision to carve a separate Telangana state.
Opposing the state's division, protestors took to the streets forcing closure of hotels and shops and burning tyres on main roads. They erected road blocks on the state and national highways, bringing all traffic to a complete halt.
Burning effigies of Congress leaders and raising slogans of "Jai Samaikyandhra" (Long live united Andhra), the protestors brought to virtual standstill Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Tirupati, Anantapur, Kurnool and other towns.
Vehicular traffic from and to the neighbouring states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Odisha came to a halt as protestors blocked the national highways in response to the call given by Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) Association, which represents striking government employees in Seemandhra.
APNGOs has called for 48-hour shutdown while the YSR Congress party and district units of Samaikyandhra Joint Action Committee have appealed for 72-hour shutdown. APNGOs has also called for closure of all central government offices and banks.
While buses of the state-owned transport corporation are off the roads for nearly two months due to the indefinite strike by the employees, the private vehicles were also taken off due to the shutdown, causing severe inconvenience to commuters.
Seemandhra went on high alert since Thursday evening.
More than six lakh government employees, teachers and workers are on indefinite strike since Aug 13 to protest the July 30 decision of the Congress party to create a separate Telangana state. The union cabinet Thursday approved the formation of the new state.
Seemandhra went on high alert since Thursday evening. Security was beefed up at the residences of central and state ministers, members of parliament and the state legislature in view of the widespread protests.
Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in large numbers to maintain law and order across the region.