Tension prevailed on the Andhra Pradesh-Maharashtra border on Sunday as the Maharashtra Police used force to disperse Telugu Desam Party (TDP) activists protesting the arrest of party president N. Chandrababu Naidu and other leaders.
Four people were injured when police baton charged a group of TDP workers at the border near Dharmabad in Naded district of Maharashtra.
Raising slogans against the Maharashtra government, TDP activists tried to enter Maharashtra but were pushed back by the police into Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh. Some media persons also complained that the police beat them up.
Naidu and other TDP leaders were arrested on Friday when they entered Maharashtra despite ban orders and tried to head towards Babli dam being built across Godavari River. TDP alleged that Maharashtra was building the dam illegally and this would deprive Andhra Pradesh of its rightful share of waters.
A large number of policemen were mobilised in Dharmabad as Babli Samrakshana Samiti workers took out a rally protesting against TDP leaders. Police used force to disperse as they tried to head towards Dharmabad ITI, where Naidu and 74 others remained in judicial custody.
The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and others were remanded to judicial custody for two days by a magistrate in Dharmabad on Saturday as they refused to take bail.
Maharashtra has refused to allow Naidu and other TDP leaders to visit Babli though they have vowed not to leave the state until they visit the dam.
TDP leaders, who resisted attempt to shift them to different jails, remained at Dharmabad ITI for the second consecutive day.
TDP has alleged that the leaders, including women, were sharing one room which has only one toilet attached to it.
TDP has complained to Lok Sabha speaker and Andhra Pradesh assembly speaker of the "ill-treatment" meted out to MPs and state legislators.
Meanwhile, TDP staged protests in different parts of Andhra Pradesh and has called for a state-wide shutdown Monday to protest the arrests.
“We have given a call for hartal (strike). They (Maharshtra government) should allow us to visit Babli and 13 other projects along with the media,” TDP MP Nama Nageswar Rao told IANS over telephone.
He said the party leaders had entered Maharashtra after they were given an assurance by police that the senior party leaders will be taken to Babli project. “They told us that only leaders will be allowed,” he said.
Rao, who is leader of the Telugu Desam parliamentary party, said they wanted to see Babli project ahead of the July 23 meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh concerning the controversial project.
An all-party delegation from Andhra Pradesh is expected to meet the prime minister on the issue.