Hyderabad: Stating that by using police force, the government was giving the message that it’s not concerned about the people, TJAC chairman Prof Kodandaram on Saturday said that the government was keen to go ahead with the Mallannasagar project despite people from villages facing submergence not willing to part with their lands. Medak police detained Prof. Kodandaram and other leaders when they were proceeding to Mallannasagar to extend their support to the villagers.
Police had cordoned off points of entry and detained leaders from various parties on their way to extend support to the protesters. Meanwhile, the Opposition’s district-wide bandh call to condemn the lathicharge by the police on villagers protesting against the Mallannasagar project passed off peacefully. People voluntarily participated in the bandh; shops and other commercial establishments remained shut in a few places, while in other places, activists of the Opposition parties were seen forcing shopowners to down their shutters.
Protesters staged dharnas outside RTC bus depots, blocking movement of RTC buses. Prof. Kodandaram was arrested at Vantimamidi and shifted to Bolarum police station in Hyderabad, BJP leaders Chintala Ramchandra Reddy, Raghunandan and others were detained at Gajwel and shifted to Dundigal police station under Cyberabad west limits. Telangana United Front leader Vimalakka was detained at Kukunoorpally on the outskirts of the district. Meanwhile, TD MLA A. Revanth Reddy said the Opposition will go on a two-day hunger strike from August 13.
Harish says Opposition bandh was ‘total flop’
Despite arrests, protests and burning of effigies of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and irrigation minister T. Harish Rao which marked the Medak bandh called by the Opposition, the latter described the bandh as a ‘total flop’. Mr Harish Rao also accused the Opposition of trying to whip up emotions and stall the land acquisition process, thereby delaying construction of the Mallannasagar and other irrigation projects. The minister said that the government would provide compensation as per the Land Acquisition Act 2013 or GO 123.
“Farmers should not get carried away by Opposition propaganda. We are not forcing farmers or any of the oustees to part with their lands,” Mr Harish Rao said, adding that he would meet the agitating farmers and explain the offer of the government to them. Of the eight villages facing submergence, six villages have already offered lands, he said. Meanwhile, police said that the bandh was peaceful and no untoward incidents were reported from anywhere across the district.
Earlier, all points of entry to the district were cordoned off by the police. Around 250 additional forces from neighbouring districts were also deployed to keep situation under control. The police detained 151 persons across the district, including leaders of various political parties and activists who were trying to proceed towards the submergence villages. They were later released.