More than 50,000 government schools in Seemandhra, as Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions are collectively known, remained shut Thursday as the teachers hit the roads demanding that the centre roll back its decision to carve out separate Telangana state.
The strike, which will affect about 50 lakh students in 13 districts of Seemandhra, has been called by the Samaikhyandhra Teachers Struggle Committee, comprising 16 teacher unions.
According to the committee, 2.5 lakh teachers are participating in the strike. Over four lakh government employees are already on strike to protest the July 30 decision of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to bifurcate the state. The strike by employees entered the 10th day Thursday.
Road transport remained paralysed in Seemandhra as 12,000 buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) were still off the roads. Protests by employees, teachers, lawyers, students, women and people from all walks of life continued in Seemandhra for the 23rd day Thursday. They took out rallies, staged road blockades and formed human chains to demand the centre to withdraw its decision.
YSR Congress party honorary president Y.S. Vijayamma, legislators of YSR Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and other political and non-political groups continued their hunger strike. Vijayamma's fast entered the fourth day Thursday at Guntur. TDP's legislator P. Raghunath Reddy also continued his hunger strike at Puttaparthi in Anantapur district.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGO) association has decided to meet national leaders of various parties to mobilize support against the state's division. After a meeting with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, APNGO president Ashok Babu told reporters that APNGO leaders would meet the political leaders in New Delhi from July 26 to 28.
The high court Wednesday pulled up Seemandhra employees for striking work and participating in a political agitation. It reminded them that as public servants they can't participate in any political movement.
The APNGO president, however, said they were participating in a people's movement.