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Mixed response to TDP’s AP shutdown
Published on 19 Jul. 2010 10:36 PM IST
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Normal life was affected in parts of Andhra Pradesh and stray incidents of violence were reported Monday during a shutdown called by the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to protest the arrest of its chief N. Chandrababu Naidu in Maharashtra.
The strike evoked mixed response in the state capital and 22 other districts. State-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) had to partially suspend bus services here and other towns. Protesters set afire a bus in Sanathnagar area in Hyderabad, while incidents of stone pelting on buses were also reported from Khammam district.
Educational institutions, shops, petrol bunks, cinema theatres, business establishments, banks were closed in parts of Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Kakinada, Tirupati and Guntur.
Hundreds of TDP activists were arrested by police for staging road and rail blockades and forcing shops and business establishments to down shutters. The movement of vehicular traffic on national and state highways was affected due to the road blockades by protesters.
The movement of trains was disrupted in some places by TDP workers. The protesters stopped the Hyderabad-Mumbai Hussain Sagar Express at Tandur in Ranga Reddy district and the Guntur-Secunderabad Golconda Express at Ghanpur station in Warangal district.
TDP Rajya Sabha member N. Harikrishna was arrested by police at Basara in Adilabad district when he was going towards Dharmabad in Maharashtra to meet Naidu and other TDP leaders, who are in judicial custody. Harikrishna, who is also the son-in-law of Naidu, was shifted to Nizamabad. In Secunderabad in the state capital, police arrested 50 TDP activists including former minister T. Srinivas Yadav when they tried to enforce the shutdown.
Former mayor T. Krishna Reddy and other TDP leaders were arrested for blocking roads at the RTC crossroads in Hyderabad. Former minister K. Srihari and about 50 other TD workers were arrested at Ghanpur in Warangal district.
Tension prevailed in Vijayawada as TDP activists tried to forcibly close shops but were resisted by Congress workers. Police arrested former MP G. Rammohan Rao and other TDP leaders.
TDP workers staged a sit-in outside the APSRTC depots in Hyderabad and elsewhere to stop buses from plying. The Maharashtra Road Transport Corporation stopped all its bus services to Andhra Pradesh as a precautionary measure.
The shutdown, however, had little impact in some areas as normal traffic was on the roads while markets also opened. The firms in IT district Cyberabad too were working as usual.
Naidu and 74 other TDP leaders, who are in judicial custody in Dharmabad of Maharashtra’s Nanded district, launched a day-long hunger strike, demanding that the Maharashtra government allow them to visit the Babli dam across Godavari River. Naidu and his supporters, including MPs and legislators, were arrested Friday when they tried to proceed towards the dam, which they alleged is being built by Maharashtra illegally and would deprive Andhra Pradesh of its due share of Godavari waters.
A magistrate in Dharmabad Saturday sent the TDP leaders to judicial custody after they refused to seek bail. The leaders, who spent the third night in Dharmabad ITI, have vowed not to return without visiting the Babli project.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has rejected their demand, saying this would create law and order problems.
Custody of Naidu, others extended
A court in Maharashtra’s Nanded district Monday extended the judicial custody of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu and 74 other party leaders.
However, the duration of extension is still not known. The leaders again rejected the Dharmabad magistrate’s suggestion to take bail and return to Andhra Pradesh. The magistrate called the leaders at Dharmabad ITI as their two-day judicial custody came to an end. All the leaders are likely to be shifted to Aurangabad Jail later.
Naidu told the magistrate that they were illegally arrested by Maharashtra Police in Andhra Pradesh territory. According to TDP leaders, their party chief said they were not terrorists and had not committed any crime. He made it clear that they would not return without visiting the Babli project being built by Maharashtra across the Godavari River.
Meanwhile, the condition of at least five TDP leaders deteriorated during the day-long hunger strike, demanding that the Maharashtra government allow them to visit the Babli dam.
The condition of Abdul Gani, legislator from Hindupur, is stated to be serious and he had to administered saline.

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