The shutdown called by various groups to oppose statehood to Telangana has brought life to a halt in Rayalaseema and coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh.
In all 13 districts of the two regions, buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) went off the roads and shops, business establishments, banks, petrol pumps, cinema halls and educational institutions remained closed.
The shutdown, which is called a day ahead of an all party meeting called by the Centre to discuss Telangana issue on Tuesday, has revived the agitation in non-Telangana regions of the state.
The strike is called by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) which comprises of student groups and political parties, including the Congress and the TDP.
Roads bore deserted look in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Kurnool, Tirupati and other major towns in the region as the RTC suspended all its services. Only a few private vehicles could be seen plying.
Scores of agitators were taken into custody in Vijayawada for taking out a rally. Also, tension prevailed in parts of Kurnool town as police arrested activists who were forcing shopkeepers to down shutters. Police have warned agitators of stern action if they resort to violence during the strike.
In Visakhapatnam, police provided additional security to IT companies. The move comes after the IT sector voiced its concern over frequent shutdowns and protests in the state.
A total shutdown in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana had paralysed normal life on Dec 30. The region witnessing massive protests for statehood for over a month was also shut down on Dec 24.
Andhra and Rayalaseema had witnessed a series of shutdowns and protests from Dec 9 when the centre announced that the process for formation of Telangana state would be initiated. The announcement followed 11 days of protests in Telangana.
The agitation returned to Telangana after the centre made a second statement Dec 23 saying the issue needed wider consultations. Mounting pressure has forced New Delhi to call a meeting of eight recognised parties of the state.