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Indian politician on hunger strike

By Omer Farooq
BBC News, Hyderabad

K Chandrasekara Rao
Mr Rao has been on a fast for the past 10 days

A protest fast by the leader of a regional party in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has entered its 10th day.

K Chandrasekara Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is demanding separate state status for the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.

His supporters have also attacked government and private property.

The demand for a separate state for the underdeveloped and drought-prone region dates back 50 years.

But the deal has been rejected by several federal governments.

The Telangana region is spread over nine of the 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh.

The separatists say that economic development in their region has been neglected in favour of the richer and more powerful Andhra region.

Mr Rao quit the Congress-led government in 2006, saying the government had not fulfilled its "assurance" for a separate Telangana state.

He also launched a hunger strike in the capital, Delhi, during the same year to press the demand for a Telangana state.

'Worsened'

Mr Rao began his "indefinite fast" on 29 November at his home town in Medak district, 100km (62 miles) from the Andhra Pradesh capital, Hyderabad.

"Either a victory procession will come out or my funeral procession will come out. The decision will have to be taken by the government," he said.

Fearing a law and order problem, the police arrested him and sent him to a prison in Khammam district.

But as Mr Rao's health deteriorated, he was moved to a hospital in Hyderabad.

Doctors said Mr Rao was refusing to take food and they were giving him saline water and medicine.

Protestors demanding separate Telangana state
The separatists say that their region has been neglected

TRS workers have attacked public transport, government offices and private property in the capital city and nine other districts of the region over the last 10 days.

Separately, students of two major universities - Osmania University in Hyderabad and Kakatiya University in Warangal - have also launched a movement for a Telangana state.

The state government has shut schools and universities in the state for a fortnight to try to prevent students from protesting.

More than 400 people died in violence over the demand for a Telangana state in 1969.



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SEE ALSO
Two ministers quit India cabinet
23 Aug 06 |  South Asia
Separatist movement in Andhra Pradesh
06 Jul 98 |  South Asia

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