In a pre dawn swoop, the Hyderabad city police arrested Telugu Desam president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who was on indefinite fast for the last three days, and forcibly shifted him to the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences.
Naidu had launched his indefinite fast on Friday demanding proper compensation for the farmers of the state who suffered loss of crops in the recent rains and floods.
New MLAs Quarters witnessed a dramatic action as Chandrababu Naidu's son Lokesh Naidu and several top leaders of TDP tried to prevent the police from taking away their leader. The police also faced resistance from hundreds of party workers who shouted slogans against the police and the government.
Police used force to disperse the crowd and make way for the vehicles to carry Naidu to the hospital.
Senior TDP leader Kadiam Srihari told mediapersons, "The government has resorted to an undemocratic and uncivilized act to break Mr Naidu's indefinite fast. They used brutal forces and dragged away even the women workers."
TDP leaders said that Chandrababu Naidu had decided to continue his indefinite fast in hospital. Kadiam Srihari said, "Naidu has told the police and doctors that his condition was not as bad as was being made out by the government. They have created a scare to forcibly end his fast".
An angry TDP has called for the statewide strike on Monday in protest against the police action. Hundreds of TDP workers had gathered outside the NIMS shouting slogans against Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and the state government.
Police in large number had moved in to the New MLAs Quarters on Sunday night after a team of doctors had warned that sugar level of Naidu had depleted below 60 and 'if he continues his fast any longer, condition may turn serious.'
Noted cardiologist B Somaraju, after examining Naidu on Sunday night, told mediapersons that the sodium level had also declined considerably and it was a cause of concern.
Apart form deploying three platoons of armed police, task force personnel had also moved in to the hunger strike camp and were trying to disperse the crowd of TDP workers and supporters.
Tension prevailed in the area throughout the night as a large number of workers had gathered there.
Naidu's main demands include giving justice to the farmers who suffered loss of crop, payment of compensation at the rate of Rs 10,000 per acre for loss of paddy crop and Rs 15,000 per acre for commercial crops like tobacco and chilly and procurement of discoloured paddy by the government.
The state government, which had initially tried to ignore Naidu's fast, finally broke its silence on Sunday evening. Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy appealed to Naidu to end his fast saying that the government had taken note of his fast and demands for the farmers. He said his government had already initiated several steps to mitigate the sufferings of the calamity-hit farmers.
He said he tied to speak to Naidu over phone but he was not available.
Naidu's indefinite fast has attracted a lot of attention at the national level and several prominent leaders visited his camp during last three days.
They include A B Bardhan of the Communist Party of India, Communist Parrty of India-Marxist senior leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechuri, former prime minister Deve Gowda, MDMK leader Vaiko and an emissary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalithaa.