For the first time, in Hyderabad, the capital city of Indian state Andhra Pradesh, a large number of government employees from the regions of Coastal and Rayalaseema, known as Seemandhra congregated on Saturday giving clear signals to the Government of India they would not allow bifurcation of the state.
Being part of Telangana region, who are seeking separate statehood till now no public event was allowed till now seeking unity of the state.
As this was the first occasion for the people from Seemandhra to declare their commitment for the unity of the state from the capital city, thousands of employees participated from various districts with enthusiasm and energy demonstrating their strength and commitment. A large number of women and youth were seen in the meeting.
Amidst attacks by suspected pro-Telangana elements, the speakers asked the Congress party, which is in power both at the Center and also in the state, to rescind the move to bifurcate the state or face political consequences. The meeting at the sprawling Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium coincided with a bandh in Telangana, from where stray incidents of violence were reported.
Addressing the gathering, APNGOs president P Ashok Babu said that they would intensify the agitation and even prepared to organise a ‘Million March’ in Hyderabad opposing the division of the state. As per the High Court directions, the meeting started at 2 pm and ended at 5.20 pm. Only government employees with ID cards were allowed inside the LB Stadium. Ashok Babu, who chaired the meeting, said that their movement was a apolitical one.
“I have no political ambitions,” he said. Listing out the losses being incurred by the Seemandhra districts, if the state was divided, he suggested the Centre for a health debate on resolving the issue. According to him bifurcation of the state would destabilize the lives of students, employees and other Seemandhra people residing in Hyderabad.
He said that there were no guidelines about service conditions of around 40,000 Seemandhra employees working in Hyderabad. There were around six lakh government pensioners and there was no clarity about which government would pay their pension amounts. “Already pensioners filed cases in courts after the creation of states like Chhattisgarh and others,” Ashok Babu said.
He said that the employees were now under the umbrella of Zonal system. “Once the state is divided, then the presidential orders will go and state will become a unit. This will create problems for employees in promotions,” Ashok Babu explained.
‘’Our resolve is to have a unified state. Bifurcation is detrimental to everyone,” he said. He said they were not against Telangana people and they were only highlighting the United Andhra theory. Ashok Babu said that people of all the three regions had a right over Hyderabad.
Meanehile, tension prevailed at the Nizam College grounds when Telangana supportes pelted stones at the police and APNGOs to thwart the rally. The stretch between Basheerbagh and police control room has become a virtual battle ground with the police resorting to lathicharge on the students who lobbed stones at the APNGOs. In the incident, as many as three employees were injured.
The police arrested as many as 366 protestors from various places in the city for taking out rallies, forcibly closing business establishments, staging rasta rokos and dharnas.