New Delhi: Senior TRS leader, Harish Rao, stormed into the Andhra Pradesh Bhawan in Delhi today, grabbed an officer there and slapped him.
Mr Rao is an MLA in the Andhra Pradesh assembly; his uncle, K Chandrasekhar Rao or KCR as he's known, is the chief of the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) and has fronted the campaign for a new state of Telangana.
Mr Rao said he hit the officer in protest against "the lack of respect" shown for the dead body of a man from Telangana who committed suicide in Delhi yesterday. Chander Rao had refused permission for the corpse to be brought to Andhra Bhawan.
Yesterday, 30-year-old Yadi Reddy was found dead near Parliament House in Delhi. An eight-page suicide note reportedly said the young driver from the Ranga Reddy region of Telangana was upset over the government not creating a new state for his homeland.
Mr Rao was accompanied during today's assault by KCR's son KT Rama Rao. A case has been registered against him under the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Caste/Schedule Tribe members. The officer who was slapped says that Mr Rao later apologised to him.
The emotionally and politically charged issue of whether to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh has crowbarred its way to the national agenda, with Congress MPs and MLAs resigning in protest against their party's inertia on the issue at the Centre. Those who've resigned say just the process of discussion will not persuade them to get back to work. "If we don't stick to our resignation, how will we face the people during the local body elections?'' asked Geetha Reddy, a Congress minister in Andhra Pradesh.
In December 2009, the Centre in a surprise midnight announcement said a new Telangana state would be created. That didn't go down well with leaders from Rayalaseema and costal Andhra Pradesh. Wide dissent and violent protests led to the Centre withdrawing its offer. The Srikrishna Committee was appointed to tour the state and gauge public and political opinion. The panel presented the Centre with six options for the future of Andhra Pradesh. The government has yet to pick one.