BHUBANESWAR: Dreaded Maoist leader Dunna Keshav Rao alias Azad and three others, who were on a hunger strike at Special Circle Jail here, were admitted to Capital Hospital on Saturday.
Sources said condition of the four undertrial prisoners (UTPs) facing charges of Maoist violence deteriorated after which they were hospitalised.
Azad and others have been on strike since March 30 in support of their five-point agenda which includes speedy trial.
Speaking to mediapersons, Azad said the State Government should accord him the status of a political prisoner.
He demanded a regular court production for trial of the cases filed against him and alleged that the State Police intentionally booked him in old cases to ensure that he remains in the jail.
A senior Government official said logistics and shortage of manpower for escort have taken a toll on production of Azad in the court for trial of cases filed in Nayagarh district.
Earlier in the day, Additional DGP (Prisons) Arun Ray and Khurda District Magistrate Niranjan Sahoo met the UTPs and urged them to break the strike. Sahoo also briefed Home Secretary Asit Tripathy about the demands of the prisoners and said the matter is being looked into.
Meanwhile, the Capital Hospital turned into a fortress with two platoons of IRB and State Armed Police standing guard to the room where the UTPs are housed. Late in the night, DCP Satyabrata Bhoi directed a Special Operations Group (SOG) team to shield the exterior premises of the hospital.