South Asia News
Protests escalate in India over demand for new state
Jul 6, 2011, 11:26 GMT
New Delhi - At least 50 people were arrested in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad Wednesday as students clashed with police during protests demanding a separate state of Telangana.
The federal government said consultations on the creation of Telangana from parts of Andhra Pradesh state were continuing.
'No decision has been taken yet,' federal Home Minister P Chidambaram said in New Delhi.
State police fired teargas to disperse stone-throwing protesters on the campus of Osmania University, IANS news agency reported.
Pro-Telangana groups called a two-day strike in the region Tuesday demanding the creation of the new state. Few buses ran on the roads and all schools and colleges remained closed.
At least 10 lawmakers from Parliament and about 100 state assembly legislators have resigned in recent days to support the demand, NDTV news channel reported.
The Telangana Joint Action Committee announced student rallies for Thursday and a blockade of railroads on Friday and Saturday.
The movement for a separate state dates back 50 years. Supporters say Telangana has been neglected and is among India's poorest and most economically backward regions. They claim it can only be developed if local people control its administration.
In December 2009, after weeks of pro-independence protests by students and the regional Telangana Rashtriya Samiti party, the federal government agreed to create a Telangana state.
The final decision lies with the federal parliament and the state assembly must also approve its creation.
India currently has 28 states, with the last three new states formed in 2000. The South Asian country had 16 states in 1971.