South Asia

Telangana: Fresh strike begins for new Indian state

File picture of pro-Telangana protests
Image caption Violent protests have taken place in Andhra Pradesh

Supporters of a new state have begun a two-day strike in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh state in India.

It follows mass resignations by legislators over their demand for the creation of a new state.

So far, 81 legislators from the ruling Congress and opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have quit the state assembly. Ten MPs have also resigned from the national parliament.

Andhra Pradesh saw violent protests for and against the proposal last year.

With a population of 40 million, the proposed Telangana state comprises 10 of Andhra Pradesh's 23 districts, including the state capital and India's sixth most populous city, Hyderabad.

Security is tight in the region, including in Hyderabad.

Schools, colleges, businesses and government offices are shut in the Telangana region, and traffic is thin, says the BBC's Omer Farooq in Hyderabad.

Pro-Telangana activists have planned more protests and disruption of train services after the strike ends on Wednesday, reports say.

Correspondents say Monday's resignations could destabilise the Congress government in the southern state.

Forty-two of the party's 167 lawmakers have submitted their resignations to the deputy speaker of the assembly. They include 11 ministers.

All the legislators who have resigned belong to the Telangana region - there are 118 lawmakers in the 294-seat assembly who belong to the area.

And the party leading the demand for statehood, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), is sticking to its position.

Opponents of the move are unhappy that Hyderabad, home to many major information technology and pharmaceutical companies, could become Telangana's new capital.

The final decision on a new state lies with the Indian parliament. But the state assembly must also pass a resolution approving its creation.

Deep divisions have emerged over the Telangana issue in the past year.

In December 2009, India's Congress party-led government promised that the new state would be formed, but later said more talks were needed.

The announcement prompted widespread protests in the state, and a student committed suicide in support of the formation of Telangana.

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