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Quota row: Bandh paralyses life in AP

By Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
April 04, 2007 10:35 IST
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The Andhra Pradesh bandh, called by backward classes' organisations and supported by all political parties to protest against the Supreme Court's stay on 27 percent reservations for Other Backward Classes, paralysed normal life across the state on Wednesday.

The State Legislative Assembly was also adjourned for the day after it witnessed uproar.

As soon as the sitting commenced in the morning, members of opposition parties rushed towards the podium protesting against Speaker K R Suresh Reddy's ruling disallowing their adjournment notices on the OBC quota issue. The Speaker adjourned the House for 15 minutes initially but later adjourned it till next Monday. 

Leaders of various political parties and organisations were arrested for staging a dharna and obstructing the movement of trains at Secunderabad and Hyderabad railway stations on Wednesday morning.

As many as 40 backward class welfare organisations called for the bandh to mount pressure on the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre to implement the reservations for OBCs in IIMs, IITs and other institutions of higher learning.

The ruling Congress and all other political parties -- TDP, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen and Bharatiya Janata Party -- extended full support to the bandh to express their solidarity on the OBC quota issue.

Even as the state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation suspended bus services all over the state as a 'precautionary measure', the state government declared a holiday to all the educational institutions and postponed public examinations scheduled for the day. Many colleges also declared a holiday.  

At different places in the state, activists of different political parties and backward class organisations tried to stop vehicular movement on the highways and train services  by organizing rasta or rail roko protests. Other essential services like water and power supply, hospitals and medical shops were exempted from the bandh call. 

Hotels, cinema theatres, petrol bunks, banks, shops and other business establishments remained closed. Some private offices also did not function and the state and central government offices reported thin attendance in the absence of public transport services. 

In the morning, activists of different political parties and backward class organisations, holding their respective flags, staged demonstrations and went round the business areas in various towns and cities for enforcing the bandh.

The police was geared up to maintain law and order and police pickets were posted and security beefed up at vital installations in view of the bandh, which has remained peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported so far.

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Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad