TDP chief Naidu on fast as police puts him under preventive custody

Naidu
Police locked the main gate of TDP Chief and former Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu's residence. Photo: Twitter

Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N Chandrababu Naidu started a 12-hour long hunger strike after he was put under preventive custody by Andhra Pradesh police.

The leader of opposition’s son Nara Lokesh was also put under preventive custody on Wednesday (September 11) morning. Police deployed additional forces at the Leader of the Opposition’s house located on the banks of Krishna River, at Undavalli in Guntur district in a bid to foil the ‘Chalo Atmakur’ call given by the TDP. Following police action, Naidu launched a 12-hour fast at his residence from 8 am.

The official Twitter handle of TDP, @jaiTDP, claimed several of its leaders have been placed under house arrest. “TDP leaders kept under house arrest by YSRCP Government to obstruct our programme of Chalo Atmakur. Police not allowing us to supply food to rehabilitation camp where victims of attacks by YSRCP cadre were given shelter. Is it democracy? Is it clean administration?” a tweet in Telugu said.

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Several TDP leaders, including MLAs were also taken into custody. TDP MP K Srinivas who was on his way to Naidu’s residence to participate in the protest rally too was arrested by police on Wednesday morning.

Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) Damodar Goutam Sawang said that Naidu was taken into preventive custody as his actions were increasing tensions and creating law and order disturbance. On Tuesday, permission was denied for meetings, processions, rallies or protests in Palnadu region as Section 144 (prohibition on assembly of more than four persons in an area) of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and Section 30 (regulation of public assemblies and processions) of Police Act were clamped.

“This government is violating human rights and fundamental rights. I am warning the government. I am warning police also. You cannot play this type of politics. You cannot control us by arresting. Whenever they allow me, I’ll continue Chalo Atmakur,” said Naidu.

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Meanwhile, tensions continued in Palnadu region of Guntur district and Amaravati capital region, since Tuesday as workers belonging to Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy-led Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress (YSRCP) had called for a counter-protest march.

According to The Hindu, dramatic scenes were witnessed at the makeshift rehabilitation camp set up on the premises of Wines Kalyana Mandapam as police and revenue personnel tried in vain to convince those in the camp to return to their respective towns and villages. While the TDP claimed around 150 families were taking shelter in the camp, home minister M Sucharita dubbed them ‘paid artistes.’

Naidu had given a call for a march to Atmakaru, a town near Nellore district, where TDP alleged that their partymen were under attack by the YSRC.

Meanwhile, YSRC leaders including MLAs Ambati Rambabu, Gopireddy Srinivasa Reddy and Bolla Brahmanaidu and Narsaraopet MP Lavu Sri Krishna Devarayulu and animal husbandry minister Mopidevi Venkataramana and others lashed out at Naidu for trying to create an issue out of nothing by building a false impression that Palnadu region is steeped in violence.  “Palnadu region is peaceful,’’ they maintained.

Earlier in the day Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh tweeted, “TDP does not back down to such threats. Even if the police make illegal cases and arrests. Our foot is already up. All the parties of the party support the TDP and will help block the undemocratic actions.”

(With inputs from agencies)