South Asia

Telangana: Strike held for new Indian state campaign

Pro-Telangana protestors clash with police on 6 January 2010
Violent protests have taken place in Andhra Pradesh

A strike in favour of a new state has shut schools and colleges in the Telangana region of southern India's Andhra Pradesh state.

It follows Thursday's official report on whether India should create a new state out of Telangana.

The report offers six options, ranging from more powers for Telangana within Andhra Pradesh to full-blown statehood.

There were calls for calm as the party leading the demand for statehood has rejected the report.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) said the report had "failed to come up with a clear solution".

Deep divisions

State government employees in the Telangana region have planned protests during lunch on Friday in support of their demand for a new state.

The final decision on a new state lies with the Indian parliament. But the state assembly must also pass a resolution approving its creation.

A BBC correspondent says Andhra Pradesh is bracing for more strikes and protests in favour of the proposed new state.

Opponents of the move are unhappy that Hyderabad, home to many major information technology and pharmaceutical companies, could become Telangana's new capital.

India's ruling Congress party is also in power in Andhra Pradesh. Ministers have urged people there to stay calm.

Among other things, the 461-page report by former Supreme Court Chief Justice BN Srikrishna suggests:

  • A separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital
  • A united Andhra Pradesh with more powers for the Telangana region
  • Splitting Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and another region, Seemandhra (comprising the Rayalseema and coastal areas). Each would have its own capital with Hyderabad becoming a union territory
  • Maintaining "status quo"

Federal Home Minister P Chidambaram has appealed to political parties to read the judge's report with an "open mind" and give it their "impartial consideration".

He hoped the report would generate an "informed and mature" debate on the issue.

Deep divisions have emerged over the Telangana issue in the past year.

In December 2009, India's Congress party-led government promised that the new state would be formed, but later said more talks were needed.

The announcement prompted widespread protests in the state, and a student committed suicide in support of the formation of Telangana.

Correspondents say the government is nervous about any strong reaction to the report and fears fresh violence in the state following its publication.

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