Shutdown in Maharashtra town against TDP agitation

The TDP chief Naidu and his supporters are likely to be released today.

Nanded: Tension prevailed in Dharmabad town of Nanded district in Maharashtra as a group staged a protest against Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu and his party colleagues, who remained in police custody for the second day on Saturday and refused to take bail.

A large number of policemen were deployed at Dharmabad Industrial Training Institute (ITI) as the Babli Samrakshana Samiti staged a protest demanding that Naidu and the 75 other TDP leaders go back.

Police baton charged the protesters and arrested them as they tried to barge into the ITI premises raising slogans against the Andhra leaders.

Additional forces were mobilised at the ITI amid reports that police were planning to shift TDP leaders to Nanded jail. The TDP leaders, however, resisted the attempts to shift them.

Police have refused to allow Naidu and other leaders to visit the Babli dam being built by Maharashtra across Godavari River. Andhra`s main opposition party has alleged that the dam was being constructed illegally and it would deprive Andhra of its rightful share of waters.

Naidu and others, who were arrested Friday for trying to enter Maharashtra despite ban orders, refused to take bail. The leaders, including MPs, state legislators and former ministers were produced before a magistrate who visited the ITI. They, however, refused to seek bail and made it clear that they would not leave Maharashtra till they were allowed to inspect the Babli dam.

The arrested leaders spent Friday night at the ITI. The TDP leaders here said Naidu and others, including women, slept on mats.

The arrested leaders have not been provided basic facilities but they are determined to continue their protest. Naidu has also decided to lodge a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission against the Maharashtra government.

The TDP leaders were arrested on the Andhra-Maharashtra border Friday afternoon when they tried to enter Maharashtra to inspect Babli. The former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister argued that he had the democratic right to visit any place in the country.

The TDP alleged that its leaders were arrested by the Maharashtra Police with deceit. They were taken in a police vehicle with the promise that they would be shown the project but the vehicle was diverted to the Dharmabad ITI.

Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil on Friday evening spoke to Naidu over phone and advised him to return to Andhra Pradesh but the latter refused to leave unless he and other leaders were allowed to visit Babli and other projects.

Meanwhile, the TDP continued protests in different parts of Andhra Pradesh against Naidu`s arrest. The party activists staged protests outside the offices of district collectors on Saturday.


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