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Fasting Naidu arrested, hospitalised

Hyderabad: TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu, who is on a hunger strike demanding compensation for farmers, was forcibly taken into custody and shifted to hospital in the wee hours on Monday, after a seven-hour high drama at the new MLA quarters here which saw police clashing with TDP workers leaving many of them injured.

Chandrababu is, however, continuing his hunger-strike for the fourth day in the hospital.

Chandrababu’s son Lokesh, MLC YVB Rajendra Prasad and several others were injured in the police action during the arrest of the former Andhra Pradesh chief minister.

A case under Section 309 of Indian Penal Code (attempt to commit suicide) has been registered against Naidu while a case under Section 353 IPC (preventing a public servant from discharging his duties) was registered against other TDP leaders.

The TDP has called for a state-wide bandh today in protest against Chandrababu’s arrest and the Left parties have extended support to it.

The high drama began around 10.00 pm last night when a heavy contingent of policemen in full riot-gear descended on the new MLA quarters, where Chandrababu had been observing the indefinite hunger-strike for the last three days, and attempted to evict the fasting leader, sources said.

High tension prevailed at the camp site as thousands of TDP workers surrounded the dais, where Chandrababu was resting, in a bid to prevent police action.

Many senior MLAs and leaders sat on the dais to guard their leader.

Police then locked the main gate of the MLA quarters to prevent anyone from coming inside even as thousands of TDP workers thronged the venue to resist police action.

Around 5.00 am, several plain-clothed policemen belonging to the City Task Force made their way to the dais to lift Chandrababu while the police in riot-gear allegedly beat up the party workers and tried to disperse them. TDP workers jostled with the police to thwart their attempts.

Joint Commissioner of Police MM Bhagawat spoke to Chandrababu and requested him to shift to the Nizams Institute of Health Sciences in view of his failing health.

The Leader of Opposition, however, refused to heed.

The police then launched an offensive and allegedly pushed National Security Guard personnel, who were on Chandrababu’s security duty, and forcibly evicted him.

In the melee Chandrababu’s son Lokesh suffered injuries. Many MLAs and MLCs sustained injuries in the police action including MLC Rajendrababu, the sources said.

Former Union minister K Yerran Naidu, former home minister T Devender Goud, and other party leaders strongly condemned the police “brutality”.

Naidu is on an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the “inadequate” relief package announced by the state government for farmers who lost their crop in the recent rains.

Expressing concern over Naidu’s deteriorating health, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy had last night appealed to him to end the fast as the government was addressing the problems faced by farmers.

The government was considering all farmer-related issues raised by the opposition parties, he had said.

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