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Naidu, 35 other TDP MLAs detained

By Our Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD, MARCH 16. Police today detained the Leader of the Opposition, N. Chandrababu Naidu, and 35 other Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislators after they attempted to take out a rally from the NTR Memorial to protest against the naming of the Hyderabad International Airport after Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr. Naidu and other MLAs, who included former Ministers — Y. Ramakrishnudu, T. Devender Goud, N. Janardhan Reddy, Uma Madhava Reddy and Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu — were released after two hours. Nine party MLAs did not turn up for the protest rally.

Anticipating trouble, the police arranged massive security outside the NTR Ghat. Mr. Naidu arrived around 2 p.m. and offered floral tributes to the late leader. Even as the TDP chief and other MLAs emerged, the Central Zone Deputy Commissioner of Police, B. Srinivasulu, informed them that they had no permission to take out a rally.

The protesters, who carried placards, started raising slogans against the Chief Minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, and the police. After 30 minutes, the police swung into action and bundled the agitators into a police van. After the first vehicle left, Mr. Naidu and others boarded the second van.

`Disrespect to Telugus'

The former Minister, Kadiyam Srihari, and some party workers squatted before the van for some time. But the police whisked away Mr. Naidu and other MLAs to the Shiv Kumar Lal police grounds in Goshamahal and informed them about their detention under section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr. Naidu said the TDP would not digest the disrespect shown to Telugus.

Reiterating the party's demand to retain NTR's name for the domestic terminal, he said the ruling party had named several stadia, playgrounds and parks after veteran Congress leaders.

He said the TDP would not stop its agitation. "We will take the issue to the people and tell them about the injustice being done to the late Rama Rao. It is unfortunate that the self-respect of Telugus is being undermined by Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy," Mr. Naidu said.

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