TDP `hartal`: Protesters take to streets against Naidu`s arrest

Rail and road services were Monday disrupted due to a bandh called by TDP to protest the arrest of their party chief N Chandrababu Naidu over the controversial Babhli barrage.

Hyderabad/Dharmabad: Rail and road services
were Monday disrupted due to a bandh called by TDP to protest
the arrest of their party chief N Chandrababu Naidu, who began
a hunger strike against Maharashtra government stopping his
visit to the controversial Babhli barrage site.

TDP Rajya Sabha member Nandamuri Harikrishna was taken
into custody near the AP-Maharashtra border when he tried to
proceed to Dharmabad to meet Naidu and other partymen.

Several TDP, CPI and CPM leaders were also taken into
custody as they staged rail and road blockades in various
parts of Andhra Pradesh.

"Naidu and his associates went on a hunger strike this
morning and declined inspection by a medical team sent into
the ITI premises where they are lodged," an official said.

The TDP chief and 74 partymen were arrested on Friday
by Maharashtra Police at Dharmabad during the protest over the
irrigation project in Babhli and remanded in two days judicial
custody on Saturday after they refused to take bail.

Sporting black badges, TDP leaders garlanded the
statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Dharmabad ITI premises before
launching the fast.

"I am going to meet them and will return immediately.
I have every right to do so," Harikrishna told the police but
was taken into custody as a preventive measure.

Meanwhile, TDP is rushing a team of doctors to
examine the health of six party MLAs--Abdul Ghani, Mandava
Venkateswara Rao, M Kishan Reddy, P Ramulu, Linga Reddy and
Meenakshi Naidu-- currently in judicial remand in Dharmabad.

Though Chandrababu Naidu asked the six MLAs to go back
to AP, the latter refused and vowed to continue the fight
along with the former.

The bandh drew mixed response as businesses remained
closed in various parts of AP while in the state capital
Hyderabad party workers damaged some RTC buses that came on to
the roads.

The state-run Road Transport Corporation, however, did
not suspend the city services fully and was plying buses
partially despite the protests.

The CPI and the CPM expressed solidarity with the TDP
and participating in the hartal in the state.

At Narsapur in Medak district, TDP workers took out a
`funeral procession` with the effigy of Maharashtra Chief
Minister Ashok Chavan to register their protest.

In Hyderabad, several TDP, CPI and CPM leaders were
taken into custody as they staged `rasta-roko` at important
junctions in the city. In Vijayawada and Warangal too several
TDP leaders were arrested for stopping trains.

At Ghanpur station in Warangal district, TDP workers
stopped the Secunderabad-bound Golconda Express for a few
minutes while at Gadwal in Mahbubnagar district, the
Tungabhadra Express was detained by the protestors.

Many trains were blocked at different railway stations
in the state, information reaching here said.


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