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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 January, 2005, 14:24 GMT
Strike closes down Indian state
Mourners of Paritala Ravi
Mr Ravi's supporters want the state government to go
Normal life has come to a standstill in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh due to a strike by the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

The strike has been called to protest against the killing of a senior TDP leader, Paritala Ravi, who died in a bomb blast at his office on Monday.

Incidents of violence and arson have been reported from different parts of the state following the killing.

The state capital Hyderabad and several other major cities were all affected.

Government property targeted

Shops, business establishments and educational institutions were all closed in Hyderabad and in the cities of Vijaywada, Vishakhapatnam and Tirupati.

Thousands of passengers were stranded at different places due to lack of train services and other forms of transport.

Paritala Ravi
Mr Ravi had a controversial life

The state-run road transport corporation decided not to run its buses anywhere during the strike since protesters were targeting government property.

Nearly 400 buses were damaged or burnt on Monday by the demonstrators.

Police say that Mr Ravi was killed with one of his acquaintances, Eshwaraiah, at a district office of the TDP.

The BBC's Omer Farooq in Hyderabad said that incidents of stone pelting and attacks on government vehicles and offices have been reported on Tuesday.

The state government has ordered schools to remain closed fearing trouble during the shut down.

It also said on Tuesday that it would ask the federal government's Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate Mr Ravi'sdeath.

Curfew imposed

The TDP-led strike has been supported by its ally, the right wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu has blamed the state's governing Congress party and police for the attack which took place in the district of Anantapur, where a curfew has been imposed.

Police on Monday dismissed Mr Naidu's allegations, insisting that there was no lapse in his security arrangements and no question of them not making every effort to catch the perpetrators.

The TDP has also demanded the dismissal of the state's government.

Mr Ravi, a controversial figure and a former Maoist rebel, was facing several criminal cases.

Our correspondent says he was also in the middle of an ongoing feud with a Congress leader in the faction ridden Anantapur district.

Ever since the TDP-run state government was voted out of office in May last year, Mr Ravi had complained to the authorities that he feared for his life.




SEE ALSO:
Why peace collapsed in Andhra Pradesh
18 Jan 05 |  South Asia
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04 Nov 04 |  South Asia


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