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Police whisk away Revanth in pre-dawn swoop

Congress leader had called for protests during K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s visit

High drama prevailed in Kodangal in Vikarabad district in the early hours of Tuesday as the police picked up the State Congress Working President A.Revanth Reddy from his residence ahead of Telangana Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao’s public meeting in Kosigi of Mahabubnagar district.

Mr Reddy, who was taken to police training school near Jadcherla was released later in the evening. The Congress leaders too approached the Hyderabad High Court complaining about the ‘illegal’ arrest.

In a pre-dawn raid, hundreds of policemen surrounded his residence, while a group of officers, including women officers, allegedly broke open his bedroom door and arrested him. There was a heated exchange of words between the police and Mr. Reddy and police asked him to cooperate with them even as he asked for any warrant. His wife and daughter also reportedly questioned the police whether they were terrorists to be picked up in such a manner and a police officer replied that they were only following the orders of the senior officers.

Along with Mr. Reddy his brother Kondal Reddy, his gunmen and watchman were also arrested and shifted to an unknown place. The watchman was dropped at Parigi, 35 km from Kodangal.

The trigger

Two days ago Mr. Reddy called for a Kodangal bandh on December 4 to protest against the alleged harassment of Congress leaders and his aides by the police. He also called for staging protests during the Chief Minister’s programme. Later, he withdrew the bandh call but said the protests alleging police harassment should continue. The Telanagana Rashtra Samiti leaders met the Chief Electoral Officer on Monday and complained that Mr. Reddy was creating trouble ahead of Mr. Rao’s tour and demanded action.

Police, however, said it was a preventive arrest on the orders of the Election Commission. Mr. Reddy’s wife Geetha told journalists that the arrest was an attack on the people of Kodangal.

She said the police neither showed their ID cards nor any papers before making the arrests. She appealed to Mr. Reddy’ s supporters to be calm.

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