Release YSRTP workers, allow padayatra; YS Sharmila continues fast

YSRTP President YS Sharmila, demanding the release of her followers and permission to resume her Praja Prasthanam padayatra

YS Sharmila

HYDERABAD: The indefinite fast by YSRTP President YS Sharmila, demanding the release of her followers and permission to resume her Praja Prasthanam padayatra, entered its second day on Saturday. Like on Friday, similar dramatic scenes were witnessed on Saturday too at Lotus Pond, the premises of Sharmila's residence and the YSRTP office, with the police enforcing curfew-like prohibitory restrictions and detaining scores of party activists who attempted to throng the fast venue.

YS Sharmila on Friday launched into the indefinite fast after her attempt to stage a protest at the Ambedkar Statue at the Liberty Circle here was foiled and was shifted back to Lotus Pond. Demanding the release of her party leaders including women, who, she alleged, were kept in illegal confinement at the Bollaram and Banjara Hills police stations, she squatted on the road outside her residence. She was eventually forcibly shifted back to the hunger-strike podium inside her premises.

Speaking to the media on Saturday morning, YS Sharmila vowed to continue her indefinite fast, even refusing water, until her party activists were released and the police gave permission to her padayatra. She slammed the KCR regime for showing scant respect for the high court orders while denying permission to her padayatra and for the 'police brutality' against her and her followers over the last few days. Claiming that the State Government was gagging the voices that were questioning it, she said that she was being victimised further with false and frivolous cases.

Disputing the TRS claims that she made provocative statements during her padayatra, she said that it was the TRS leaders and activists who hurled a heap of derogatory comments, issued threats and resorted to physical attacks on them. "No law and order problem arose during my 3,500 km-long padayatra so far. It was the TRS leaders who were resorting to provocative comments and personal attacks. I only spoke on prevailing local issues during my foot march. I challenge the TRS leaders to come for a debate with me on a public forum if they felt there was no truth in my statements," she asserted.

With YS Sharmila even eschewing water as part of her indefinite fast, a team of doctors from the Apollo Hospital examined her on Saturday morning and expressed concern that her health could deteriorate quickly.

The Hyderabad police, on the other hand, have cordoned off the area surrounding Lotus Pond and put up barricades on the roads leading to it. The YSRTP president also alleged that the police continued to detain several of her party activists near her fast venue even on Saturday morning when they tried to express their solidarity with her.

YS Sharmila's mother YS Vijayamma extended her support to her daughter by spending time at the fast venue. Vijayamma was also stopped outside her residence on Friday evening when she wanted to join her daughter in her impromptu protest on the road.

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