Fasting Naidu arrested, TDP calls for shutdown

Sunday, December 19, 2010

HYDERABAD - Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who is on an indefinite fast demanding relief package for farmers, was arrested early Monday and taken to hospital, triggering statewide protests by the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) that has called for a shutdown.

Naidu, along with his son Lokesh, and several TDP leaders were forcibly removed from the hunger strike camp in the New MLA Quarters amid high drama and tension around 4.30 a.m.

The leader of opposition was shifted to Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), where he is continuing his fast. TDP leaders claimed that he has also refused to undergo treatment.

The TDP chief is on a fast for the last four days demanding that the government pay adequate compensation to farmers who lost their crops in recent rains.

Angry over Naidu’s arrest, TDP called for a state-wide shutdown Monday. Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) supported the call.

Opposition activists took to the streets in different parts of the state, stopped buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) and forced closure of educational institutions and shops.

Protests against Naidu’s arrest broke out in different parts of Hyderabad, Tirupati, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur and other towns.

TDP leaders alleged that Naidu’s son Lokesh sustained minor injuries when policemen lifted him as he tried to resist his father’s arrest. Several party leaders sustained bruises in the melee.

Police were gearing up to arrest Naidu since Sunday evening as his blood pressure, sugar and sodium level fell significantly. Earlier, he rejected the appeal by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to end his fast.

Around midnight, police made an attempt to convince Naidu to call off his fast but failed. The TDP leaders also resisted police attempt to arrest Naidu around 1 a.m. by forming a human chain and locking the gates of the New MLA Quarters from inside.

However, a few hours later police broke open the door and arrested Naidu and others.

Filed under: Politics

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