Hundreds of commuters were stranded as government-run bus services came to a halt in Telangana Saturday after mobs attacked vehicles in several places during a daylong shutdown called by pro-Telangana groups against the firing on protesters in Warangal district, officials said.
At least six private buses and one state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) bus were set afire and over a dozen were damaged in sporadic incidents of violence in the region since morning.
Protesters set on fire two vehicles of a private college and an RTC bus on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Three private vehicles were torched in Warangal, police said.
RTC had to suspend its services in nine Telangana districts as mobs attacked buses at several places and staged protests outside bus depots and held road blockades.
Hundreds of commuters were stranded at bus stations in the region as 600 to 900 bus services were suspended in each district. The RTC also cancelled 180 buses between Hyderabad and Vijayawada, causing severe inconvenience to passengers.
Shops and business establishments remained closed in most parts of Warangal, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Khammam, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda and Medak districts. The shutdown had no impact in Hyderabad as shops remained open while city buses plied as schedule.
The Joint Action Committee, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and other pro-Telangana groups called for the shutdown to protest firing on students at Mahabubabad town in Warangal. Nine people were injured when gunmen of Congress legislators Konda Surekha and M. Kavita opened fire on a mob protesting against MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy's
'yatra' in Telangana.
The shutdown was total in Warangal district. Protesters organised rail blockades at Kazipet junction and stopped the Secunderabad-New Delhi Rajdhani and AP Express trains for some time. Police arrested dozens of protestors.
Jaganmohan, son of former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, was Friday arrested before he reached Mahabubabad to launch his 'Odarpur yatra'. He tried to undertake the yatra despite a directive from party's central leadership not to do so in view of the protests by pro-Telangana groups.
JAC, comprising various pro-Telangana oufits, TRS and Telangana protagonists within Congress party had opposed Jagan's yatra, saying he was campaigning against the demand for statehood to Telangana.
Jagan, who represents Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency, denied any political motives and said his visit was aimed at meeting the kin of those who either died of shock or committed suicide following his father's death in a helicopter crash last year.
Meanwhile, Jagan's supporters too observed shutdown in parts of Kadapa, Anantapur, Prakasam and Guntur districts to protest his arrest. They staged street protests and held road blockades. However, there are no reports of any disruption of normal life.