Hyderabad: The 24-hour Telangana bandh called by pro-statehood groups began at midnight on Friday even as tension prevailed near Nizam college in the wake of a meeting by a group of employees to oppose the proposed bifurcation.
Some students came out of the institution and raised slogans against the APNGO (non-gazetted officers) employees, who were on their way to attend the 'Save Andhra Pradesh' meeting near LB stadium, police sources said.
Police dispersed the students and escorted the employees to the meeting venue from another gate. Fearing violence, police have stepped up security along the highways leading to Hyderabad from Seemandhra in the wake of large number of employees travelling to the state capital to attend the meeting. Many educational institutions in the state capital declared holiday today in view of the tense situation.
APNGOs Association, which represents pro-united Andhra employees, has been granted conditional permission by the police to hold 'Save AP' meeting here from 2 pm to 5 pm on Saturday.
The bandh call came after the city police gave permission to the pro-united AP state government employees to organise a public meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday. On the other hand, permission to hold a rally on Saturday was denied to pro-Telangana groups. The Telangana JAC dubbed this as discriminatory attitude of the state government.
Alleging that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has adopted an anti-Telangana approach, Telangana Joint Action Committee and other separate statehood supporting groups have called for the general strike in the region.
An AP State Road Transport Corporation official said they are in touch with police officials in Hyderabad as well as districts on security aspects to run bus services.
South Central Railways chief public relations officer Sambasiva Rao said, except three routes of Hyderabad MMTS, all other train services are on schedule.
"Only three routes of Hyderabad MMTS were suspended till 9 pm in the night," Rao told PTI. Nalgonda district superintendent of police T Prabhakar Rao said the traffic flow between Seemandhra and Hyderabad was smooth last night.
APNGOS Association president P Ashok Babu, while talking to a Telugu new channel, claimed that though they issued only 15,000 passes, one lakh people from 13 districts of coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema, besides Hyderabad were expected to attend the three-hour meeting.
The 24-hour bandh will begin Friday mid-night, Telangana JAC chairman M Kodandaram had said earlier.