HYDERABAD (TIP): YSR Congress party president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who was on indefinite fast for five days to protest the central government’s decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, was forcibly shifted by to a hospital after the police took him into preventive custody here on October 9 night. As the condition of the Kadapa MP deteriorated, police took him from hunger strike camp in front of his Lotus Pond residence to Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS). Jagan Mohan Reddy and his supporters resisted police attempts to shift the MP but policemen bodily lifted him to a waiting ambulance and took him to hospital, eye witnesses said. The young leader was suffering from dehydration and fever and his blood sugar had come down. As doctors had warned that if the fast continued, he may slip into coma, police swung into action. Electricity employees continued their strike for the fourth consecutive day Wednesday, plunging Seemandhra into chaos.

Over six lakh other government employees struck work to protest the decision to divide Andhra Pradesh and create a Telangana state. A majority of 13 districts of Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) faced severe hardships, with a prolonged spell of no electricity. Medical services were worst-hit, with many government and private hospitals putting off surgeries. Doctors at government hospitals joined the strike, adding to the woes of patients. Industrial production came to a standstill, while airports at Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada were running on back-up power. Movement of trains was affected. About 4,000 MW generation has come to a halt, as employees at all major thermal and hydel power plants struck work. The sprawling region with a population of over five crore saw work at government offices and educational institutions grind to a halt. Buses of the state-owned road transport corporation have been off the roads for nearly two months.

Talks between Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and leaders of the striking employees Wednesday failed to reach a solution, as employees refused to call off the strike till a clear assurance was offered that the state would not be divided. Kiran Reddy appealed to employees to end the strike in view of the hardships caused to common people, and said the state would remain united. He said the Telangana bill would be defeated in the assembly. However, employees insisted on an assurance from the centre and all political parties that the state would stay united. During the talks with the chief minister Tuesday night, the Joint Action Committee of Seemandhra electricity employees refused to end the strike without a firm assurance that the state would not be divided. Protests against the centre’s decision to form a new state of Telangana continued in Seemandhra for the 71st day Wednesday. Protestors included government employees, teachers and students. There were rallies, human chains, hunger strikes and sit-ins to demand that the centre keep the state united.

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