Hyderabad: Today is the 56th anniversary of the formation of Andhra Pradesh. The traditional celebrations that are organized in the state capital of Hyderabad are considerably muted today.
Politicians and activists demanding that the region of Telangana be converted into a state have threatened large protests to mark what they describe as "a day of betrayal." Votaries of a separate Telangana state, including K Chandrasekhar Rao who heads the TRS party, want black flags to be hoisted. The police will try to prevent them.
At Osmania University in Hyderabad, where students overwhelmingly favour a Telangana state, tear gas was used by the police.
M. Kodandaram, the head of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), was put under house arrest but was allowed to briefly join a pro-Telangana demonstration.
On November 1, 1956, Telangana, despite the protests of its residents who were then a part of the Hyderabad State, was merged with the Andhra State to form the state that exists today.
Telangana consists of 10 districts including Hyderabad.
The ruling Congress is caught between a rock and a hard place. Some of its own ministers and MPs from Telangana cannot be seen as supporting today's ceremonies. So chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has said that district collectors and bureaucrats will preside over the functions in different parts of the state, allowing ministers to skip the events.
In Hyderabad, the chief minister unfurled the national flag at a stadium in Hyderabad surrounded by huge security to thwart demonstrators. The chief minister addressed the gathering from behind a bullet-proof podium. Statues of non-Telangana leaders, damaged during earlier demonstrations and wrapped up for restoration, were garlanded - a grim manifestation of a state that's finding its differences irreconcilable.