Normal life remained paralysed on Monday in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh for the second successive day as Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao's fast-unto-death entered the ninth day.
Barring use of force by police and paramilitary forces at Osmania University in which some students and journalists were injured and protesters pelting stones on a train, injuring ten security personnel were injured, the second day of the 48-hour shutdown called by TRS demanding a separate state of Telangana passed off peacefully.
Life came to a standstill in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana as buses of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) remained off the roads while road and rail blockades by the protesters affected vehicular and train traffic.
All educational institutions, shops, business establishments, cinema theatres and petrol pumps remained closed in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana.
Widespread protests, rallies, and sit-ins by the protesters marked the shutdown. Students, lawyers, government employees and workers of Singareni Collieries joined the protest.
The movement of trains was hit as hundreds of protesters squatted on the tracks in Karimnagar and Warangal districts. The New Delhi-bound AP Express and Rajdhani Express were among the dozen trains stopped by the protesters in the two districts.
Ten personnel of Railway Protection Force were injured when protesters pelted stone on the Kerala Express near Uppal railway station in Karimnagar.
Police and paramilitary forces used force to quell student protests at Osmania University. Some journalists were also injured.
Rapid Action Force (RAF) and police personnel baton-charged students on the campus to foil their plans to take out a rally to the state assembly.
Armed security personnel who entered the campus in the morning chased students to a neighbouring area and attacked them. A police officer said the students were pelting stones.
Student leaders who were on a hunger strike also received the blows, as did some journalists covering the protests.
About 15 students and five journalists were injured in the police action, triggering angry reaction from Telangana sympathisers.
Following a strong protest by journalists, the government ordered an inquiry and transferred Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Stephen Ravindra.
The State Human Right Commission has also initiated a probe.
TRS members tried to stall the proceedings of state assembly, which began its winter session Monday, demanding that it pass a resolution for carving out a separate Telangana. The house was adjourned after paying tributes to former chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash Sep 2.
The ruling Congress party agreed to discuss Telangana issue but rejected the TRS demand for passing a resolution.
In Delhi, Congress party spokesman Manish Tiwari said the party was not against a separate Telangana and it was trying to evolve a consensus on the issue. He advised TRS chief to adopt a reasonable approach and not to precipitate matters.
State Congress chief D. Srinivas left for New Delhi to apprise party president Sonia Gandhi of the situation arising out of the hunger strike by Chandrasekhara Rao.
Congress legislators from Telangana region also met here to discuss their strategy in view of the ongoing movement.
Meanwhile, KCR, as the TRS chief is popularly known, continued his fast unto death at the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) here.
Doctors at NIMS said KCR was stable but had become very weak as he has not been taking food for the past nine days.
Chief Minister K. Rosaiah personally went to NIMS Sunday night to persuade the TRS chief to end the fast but the latter made it clear that he would not call it off unless a decision was taken on carving out a separate Telangana.
Rosaiah, who was accompanied by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) president Ajit Singh and state health minister D. Nagender, told KCR that the central government was seized of the Telangana issue but the TRS chief demanded that the state assembly pass a resolution.
KCR was arrested Nov 29 by the police near Karimnagar town when he was heading to Siddipet town in Medak district for launching a fast unto death. He was taken to Khammam town, where a court sent him to jail for 14 days.