Hyderabad, June 22 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party's Telangana unit chief Bandi Sanjay and other leaders were arrested by the police here on Monday as they tried to lay siege to the directorate of health to protest what they call the state government's failure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Sanjay, also a Member of Parliament Afrom Karimnagar, was leading the protest at the directorate office in Koti as part of the state-wide agitation called by the BJP.
Raising slogans of 'KCR down down' and 'save Hyderabad from coronavirus' the leaders gathered at the office. They were also demanding resignation of Health Minister Eatala Rajender.
The police placed several BJP leaders under house arrest in Hyderabad and other districts to foil the protest.
Former BJP state chief K. Laxman, former minister Peddi Reddy, former MP P. Sudhakar and member of State Legislative Council Ramchandra Rao were among the leaders kept under house arrest.
Police had also made tight security arrangements at state BJP headquarters to prevent the leaders from taking out any protest march.
Sanjay and some others, however, succeeded in reaching the directorate. Police shifted to their vehicles and whisked them away.
The BJP leader alleged that the Telangana Rashatra Samithi (TRS) government was using police force to suppress a democratic protest. He alleged that there is devil's rule in the state.
Sanjay said they called for the protest to demand the government to increase the number of COVID-19 tests in the state, fill-up the vacancies in the health department and start services at the newly established Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS).
He alleged that due to the inefficiency of the TRS government that coronavirus was spreading fast in the state.
He said instead of responding to the points raised by BJP chief J.P. Nadda over COVID-19, the TRS leaders tried to divert people's attention and make allegations to take political mileage.
Referring to the health minister's counter attack on Nadda questioning him about the situation in BJP-ruled states, the state BJP president said Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh had conducted five lakh tests each. "Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have also conducted 3 lakh tests each. How many tests were conducted in Telangana," he asked.
The BJP leader said the TRS government had been claiming that it procured 10 lakh PPE kits and 10 lakh N-95 masks but the doctors came out on streets to protest over lack of PPEs. He said the government failed to protect doctors, other healthcare workers and policemen.
Telangana has been witnessing a big surge in COVID-19 cases. It Sunday recorded 730 cases, the highest single day jump since March 2, when the first case was detected.