Hyderabad, Aug. 27: Telangana and Seemandhra employees are fighting in state government offices in Hyderabad, with police being called in more than once to separate them.
On Friday, some of them came to blows in Jala Soudha. When Seemandhra employees were holding a rally during lunch hour, staff from Telangana came out in large numbers and raised counter-slogans.
Jai Telangana and Jai Samaikyandhra slogans rent the air, tempers rose and some employees engaged in a physical fight. The police arrested people from both groups to bring order.
On Saturday, the scenes were repeated at the agriculture department and again the police had to be called in.
At the secretariat, Samaikyandhra employees took out a lunch-hour procession, shouting anti-Centre and anti-state slogans. “Roll back UPA decision on Telangana,” “All Seemandhra ministers should resign,” they demanded.
Security has been tightened and the special protection force deployed in government offices.
Telangana ministers on Saturday went up to chief minister Kiran Reddy to complain that ministers and colleagues from Seemandhra were provoking the staff from the Telangana region, but he pleaded helplessness. The chief minister told the delegation, led by K. Jana Reddy and Geeta Reddy, that the Seemandhra ministers were reflecting the opinions of the people of their region.
Ever since the bifurcation decision was announced on July 30, Hyderabad has been witnessing protests and counter-protests by the two sides. Normal life has been hit by the protests, with the prices of vegetables, oil, dal and rice shooting up as supplies from Seemandhra have snapped. Transport to Seemandhra and Bangalore is under stress, with fares doubled.
The state road transport has lost over Rs 200 crore since the agitation started. Teachers’ associations have joined the Seemandhra agitation and power sector employees plan to follow suit.
Work at the secretariat has come to a standstill, with police and the administration gearing up for worse in September. Seemandhra employees have given notice for a strike from September 2 in support of 3.5 lakh employees in 13 districts who are on strike since the midnight of August 13. There are fears even the supply of essentials like milk and cooking gas could be hit.
The chief minister has approved a police decision not to allow a public meeting of Seemandhra supporters in Hyderabad and a victory meeting of Telangana leaders in the first week of September.
“It is not the time for such celebrations,” the chief minister told the Telangana delegation that met him on Saturday.