13 Telangana ministers quit, Andhra Pradesh still tense

13 Telangana ministers quit, Andhra Pradesh still tense
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First Published: Fri, Dec 25 2009. 09 12 PM IST

Taking a stand:Union law minister M. Veerappa Moily. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
Taking a stand:Union law minister M. Veerappa Moily. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
Updated: Fri, Dec 25 2009. 09 12 PM IST
Hyderabad: Political uncertainty deepened in Andhra Pradesh on Friday as 13 ministers from the Telangana region in the Congress-run state government resigned to press for a separate state.
The ministers asked Congress’ top leaders to specify a time for carving out a separate Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.
In response, Union law minister M. Veerappa Moily, in-charge of Congress affairs in Andhra Pradesh, said, “The Union government has not diluted its stand on Telangana.”
“The Union government is not a monarchy. We have to set in the democratic process and that is possible only through consultations and the government of India is always willing to be a facilitator,” he said.
Taking a stand:Union law minister M. Veerappa Moily. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
Protests continued for the third consecutive day opposing the Union government’s decision to initiate consultations on the Telangana issue, seen by many as a reversal of the party’s earlier announcement to bifurcate the state.
The instances of violence had reduced but in some places pro-statehood protesters continued roadblocks and set ablaze vehicles.
The all-party Telangana joint action committee had decided to call off a shutdown on Friday after requests from Christians so they could celebrate Christmas.
The committee also decided against a 24-hour shutdown planned for Saturday. It will instead hold rallies and demonstrations across the Telangana region to demand that the Centre provide more clarity on the issue.
State-run bus services were restored partially on Friday. However, coal production at the state-owned Singareni Collieries Ltd came to a standstill as mine workers in Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam and Adilabad districts went on strike demanding statehood for Telangana.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has decided to stay away from the Telangana joint action committee following attacks by pro-Telangana students on TDP leaders.
After the violent protests on Thursday, the government has airlifted additional police and paramilitary forces from other states and deployed them in the Telangana region, especially at the Osmania and Kakatiya universities, the centre of student protests in favour of Telangana.
‘PTI’ contributed to this story.
c.sukumar@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Dec 25 2009. 09 12 PM IST