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TRS protest looms

Hyderabad, Dec 28: The TRS has slammed the Centre’s move to seek more time for a decision on Telangana and vowed to step up its agitation with a bandh tomorrow.

TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao questioned Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s assurance and cited an earlier pledge by his predecessor in the ministry. P. Chidambaram had once spoken of a decision “in four weeks and look at happened later”, Rao said. “Do we really require one month’s time? Shinde’s words cannot be trusted.”

Hours after Rao spoke in Delhi, students of Osmania University and a statehood forum announced support for the bandh tomorrow in theTelangana region.

“We will intensify the agitation from tomorrow and announce a road map for more protests,” said M. Kodandaram, chairman the joint action committee.

The announcement about another bout of protests sparked concern among commercial establishments and educational institutions. Detachable metal screens on glass facades of malls and shopping complexes — a familiar sight during the violent statehood agitations of the past few years — began to be installed again this evening in Hyderabad. Several schools declared a holiday tomorrow anticipating trouble.

The Centre’s apparent dilemma reflected in the postponement of a decision is being seen as a boon for the TRS, whose credibility and popularity nose-dived as the issue dragged on.

The TRS, some political observers said, had been looking for an issue to bounce back to centre stage, and the Congress provided that on a platter today.