Normal life was thrown out of gear in five districts of Andhra Pradesh's Telangana region on Wednesday due to a shutdown called by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to protest caning of their activists by the Maharashtra police near the inter-state border on Tuesday.
While public buses remained off the roads, shops, cinema halls, business establishments and educational institutions were closed in Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Warangal and Nalgonda districts.
Protesters in Karimnagar damaged a bus belonging to the Maharashtra road transport corporation and sporadic violence was reported in other parts of the region as well.
Demonstrations were staged in front of bus stations at several places. Violence broke out on Tuesday when hundreds of TDP activists tried to march towards the site of the Babli project to protest the 'illegal' construction of the dam on the Godavari River by Maharashtra.
At least 20 TDP activists were injured when Maharashtra police resorted to baton charge when they tried to cross the border near Dharmabad in violation of prohibitory orders. The Andhra Pradesh government and opposition parties allege that the project was being built 'illegally' and would affect the interests of the Telangana region.
All parties including the ruling Congress supported the shutdown call given by the TDP, whose 15 leaders are still in Maharashtra police custody. The TDP leaders, including former union minister S Venugopalachary, former state ministers T Devender Goud and M Venkateswara Rao, were shifted to Aurangabad from Nanded late on Tuesday and are likely to be produced in a court.
They were among 68 TDP leaders who courted arrest on the inter-state border after Maharashtra police used force to disperse the protesters.
The leaders, who had refused to leave Maharashtra until they were allowed to visit the Babli project site, were initially lodged in a government building at Dharmabad. All except 15 were freed late Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders began marching towards the controversial site.
In Hyderabad, state Minister for Major Irrigation P. Lakshmaiah and other ministers took out a silent march to protest the Maharashtra government's attitude. Lakshmaiah was also last week prevented by Maharashtra authorities from visiting the project site.
Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy had condemned the caning by Maharashtra police and said he would take up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
An all-party delegation led by Reddy had last week met the prime minister to seek his intervention in the dam controversy.