Congress Member of Parliament L Rajagopal, who has been on an indefinite fast in Vijaywada in support of an unified Andhra Pradesh, was taken into police custody and forcibly shifted to a hospital on Saturday, prompting his supporters to stage road blockades and demonstrations across the coastal city.
"The MP was lifted from his hunger camp at 5.30 am and shifted to a government hospital in view of his health condition. We had decided to shift him to a hospital on Friday night keeping in mind the security scenario," said Vijayawada City Police Commissioner Rajendranath Reddy.
The Vijaywada MP began his indefinite hunger strike on December 14, protesting the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the creation of a separate Telangana state. Doctors are monitoring Rajagopal's health condition and he may be shifted to Nizam's Institute of Medical Science in Hyderabad, the officer said.
As the news of Rajagopal's custody spread, Congress workers, anti-Telangana protesters and supporters of Rajagopal held road blockades and demonstrations at Vijaywada.
Former ministers M Budhaprasad, D Rajasekhar and several leaders are staging a road blockade on NH-5, resulting in massive traffic jams, the police official said, adding, "We have diverted the traffic at several places and the situation is under control."
Meanwhile, tension prevailed near the hospital premises after state Animal Husbandry Minister K Parthasarathy was 'gheroaed' by activists of the Joint Action Committee and prevented from meeting Rajagopal.
The JAC agitators, who are observing a 48-hour bandh in Krishna district, staged a series of protests in support of their demand for 'Samaikya Andhra Pradesh' (United Andhra Pradesh) across Vijayawada.
Meanwhile, a top police official said that the Congress MP faced a serious threat from Maoists.
"We have received credible information that some Maoists have planned an attack on Rajagopal as he was opposing the creation of Telangana state. We have alerted the police in Vijayawada and got him shifted to a hospital," the official in the Special Intelligence Branch said.
Based on the intelligence input, a unit of the elite anti-Maoist squad Greyhounds has been dispatched to Vijayawada, Rajagopal's constituency, he said, adding additional personnel from Andhra Pradesh Special Police and Armed Reserve forces have been deployed in large numbers to maintain law and order.
Police sources in Vijayawada said the situation was tense but under control.