TRS chief arrested ahead of 'fast unto death'

TRS chief arrested ahead of 'fast unto death'

TRS chief arrested ahead of 'fast unto death'

K. Chandrasekhara Rao

Chandrasekhara Rao was taken to Warangal. But in view of the tense situation, he was taken to Khammam district, a police official said.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, was going to Siddipet town in Medak, about 100 km from here, when he was taken into custody by the police on the outskirts of Karimnagar town amid high drama.

The Mahabubnagar MP had vowed a fight to the finish by sitting on a fast unto death from 11 a.m. near the Martyrs Memorial at Siddipet.

TRS ideologue Jayashankar, TRS floor leader in assembly E. Rajender and party legislator and KCR's son Tarakarama Rao were also arrested.

Police personnel, including the Rapid Action Force (RAF), used force to disperse and arrest dozens of KCR's supporters who had squatted on the road to prevent his arrest. Two workers also doused themselves with petrol in an attempt to immolate themselves.

Police held hundreds of party leaders and workers in different districts of Telangana when they were heading towards Siddipet.

Tension prevailed in Karimnagar, Warangal, Medak and other districts of Telangana as TRS workers took to the streets, damaging buses to protest KCR's arrest.

Fearing more violence, police have sounded an alert in Telangana region, comprising 10 districts including Hyderabad. Personnel of the elite anti-Maoist force, Greyhounds, have also been deployed to deal with the situation.

In Siddipet, TRS legislator Harish Rao and other leaders launched a fast unto death after hearing about the arrest of the party chief.

"The arrest of KCR will not stop the movement. He will continue his fast even in jail and we will continue our fast here," Harish Rao told reporters.

TRS, which was floated by KCR in 2000 to revive the movement for separate statehood to Telangana, has given a call for the shutdown in the region Monday.

In Hyderabad, KCR supporters damaged the statue of former chief minister Kasu Brahmanand Reddy, who is blamed by Telangana protagonists for suppressing the violent Telangana movement in 1969.

Tension also prevailed in Osmania University here Saturday night as students supporting the demand for separate Telangana tried to take out a rally. Police used force to arrest several students.