A shutdown impacted life in most parts of Andhra Pradesh's Andhra and Rayalaseema regions Tuesday with trouble in several areas, including in a university in Anantapur town where students opposed to the proposed Telangana state clashed with police.
At least five people, including two policemen, were injured in the clashes at Sri Krishnadevaraya (SK) University in Anatapur, about 360 km from here, police said.
Students who had been protesting against the move to grant separate statehood to Telangana region pelted stones when policemen tried to enter the campus.
Tension mounted at the university as more police forces were rushed to flush out students, some of them on hunger strike. Several students were arrested.
Student leaders alleged that police used excessive force. The incident evoked sharp reaction from political parties and other organisations fighting to keep the state united.
Anantapur is one of the four districts in Rayalaseema region, which along with coastal Andhra has been witnessing massive protests for the last five days.
On Monday night, several students in Andhra University were arrested in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam.
Protesting the incident at SK University, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislators from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions staged a sit-in before Chief Minister K. Rosaiah's office at the state secretariat raising slogans against Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy, who hails from the Telangana region.
The chief minister later spoke to the legislators, who demanded action against the police officials responsible for caning the students.
Rallies, demonstrations, meetings, relay hunger strike and road and rail blockades also continued in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, affecting normal life for the fifth consecutive day.
Buses of the state-owned Road Transport Corp (RTC) remained off the roads as a shutdown was observed in most parts of the two regions.
Raisings slogans of "samaikya Andhra", or united Andhra Pradesh, the protestors blocked vehicles and trains at Vijayawada, Guntur, Viskahapatnam, Nellore, Anantapur, Tirupati and other towns.
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from some areas, especially Krishna, Guntur and Anantapur districts.
In Anantapur, TDP legislator P. Sunita and three others continued their hunger strike for the second day while in Vijayawada the indefinite fast by four TDP leaders entered the third day.
Congress MP from Vijayawada L. Rajagopal also launched a hunger strike in Vijayawada after the police in Hyderabad foiled his attempts and sent him back.
Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, Congress legislator and brother of former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, was arrested in Hyderabad when he sat on fast near the state secretariat. Police also sent him back to his native Kadapa district where he said he would continue his fast.