Hyderabad: A state-wide shutdown called by the Communist Party of India demanding special status to Andhra Pradesh evoked partial response on Tuesday.
Buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) were off the roads while shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in parts of the state.
Main opposition YSR Congress party, the Congress, the left parties, mass organisations, students and lawyers' bodies have announced their support to the day-long shutdown.
Petrol bunks were also closed in several towns in all 13 districts as owners of petrol tankers and trucks also declared support to the strike.
Tirupati in Chittoor district was exempted from the strike as the temple town had observed a shutdown on Monday over the death of a man on the special status issue. A Congress activist had immolated self during a protest on Saturday and he died the next day.
Activists of the CPI took to streets since early morning to stage protests at APSRTC depots in all the districts. They tried to prevent buses from coming out, leading to tension and arrests at few places.
APSRTC employees in some districts in coastal Andhra joined the strike, resulting in suspension of bus services. Buses were off the roads in many parts East Godavari, West Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Prakasam, Krishna, Guntur, Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur and Chittoor districts.
Police arrested scores of protesters in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Kurnool, Rajahmunrdy, Kakinada and other towns.
Private educational institutions had declared holiday while a section of shopkeepers voluntarily downed shutters in support of the shutdown.
The state has been witnessing protests by the opposition parties for last couple of days over the issue of special category status. They are targeting ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) for its failure to get justice for the state despite being a partner in BJP-led NDA coalition at the centre.
The opposition parties have also alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party has gone back on its election promise to accord special status to the state.
YSR Congress party on Monday staged a protest in New Delhi, urging the central government to immediately do justice to the state by fulfilling the commitment given at the time of bifurcation of the state last year.
The self-immolation in Tirupati and series of protests have forced Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to seek an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The TDP chief is likely to visit New Delhi on August 16 to meet Modi and urge him to take immediate steps to give special status to the state.
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