Andhra Pradesh Shutdown Over Special Status Hits Normal Life  

A deserted street in the heart of Vijayawada during the bandh call given by YSRCP demanding Special Status for Andhra Pradesh. - Sakshi Post

Vijayawada: The day-long Andhra Pradesh shutdown called by the opposition parties on Saturday to protest denial of special category status to the state hit the normal life and led to large-scale arrests of protesters.

Public transport was affected in all the 13 districts as activists of Yuvajana, Shramika, Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) stopped buses from plying. The opposition workers staged sit-in at Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) depots since early Saturday to prevent buses from coming out. However, the police arrested scores of protesters. APSRTC was running buses in some districts under police protection.

YSRCP activists took part in a rally from the early hours of Saturday during the bandh call given by YSRCP demanding Special Status for Andhra Pradesh.

Shops and business establishments and educational institutions also remained close in Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Kurnool, Anantapur and other towns. Shutdown was total in Vijayawada, the functioning capital of the state. Buses were off the roads and schools, colleges and shops remained shut. Tension prevailed in parts of Tirupati as police arrested dozens of leaders of the opposition parties including YSRCP’s Bhumana Karunakar Reddy. The attempt by CPI-M workers to conduct mock funeral of Prime Minister Narendra Modi also triggered tension. The attempt was foiled by the police, which led to heated arguments between the two sides. The protestors alleged that Modi betrayed the people of Andhra Pradesh by going back on his words to grant special status to the state. The police imposed prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons in the temple town.

YSRCP workers staging a protest at Vizayanagaram bus on Saturday.

The shutdown was near total in Kadapa district. All 930 APSRTC buses in the district were off the roads while shops, petrol bunks and cinema theatres remained closed. In Srikakulam district, YSRCP leaders including former minister Dharmana Prasad Rao was placed under house arrest. YSRCP alleged that police were resorting to indiscriminate arrests and use of force to foil the shutdown. The opposition parties took out rallies and staged sit-in at various places, condemning the attitude of the central and the state governments. The protesters raised slogans against Modi and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Congress party staged road blockade on Bengaluru highway in Kurnool. The protest led by state Congress chief Raghuveera Reddy led to huge traffic jam.

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