Tension prevailed in villages affected by Mallannasagar reservoir, proposed as part of the Kaleshwaram project, for over six hours on Sunday with the people facing threat of displacement getting ready to stage road blockade on Rajiv Rahadari and the police firing into air to disperse the mobs.
Several persons reportedly sustained injuries while running helter-skelter through the farm fields along the highway to escape caning by the police. In a swift response, the opposition Congress, Telugu Desam, CPI(M) and BJP called for district bandh on Monday. Working president of TDP in Telangana A. Revanth Reddy planned a visit to the affected villages on Monday.
The chain of incidents commenced on Sunday morning with the land oustees of Vemulaghat in Toguta mandal proceeding towards Rajiv Rahadari as part of their plan to stage a road blockade. On getting information about the villagers’ intent, scores of police personnel from various police stations in the area rushed to the Pallepahad chowrasta (crossroads) and tried to obstruct them from proceeding further.
As the villagers were not willing to retreat and continued their march, the police resorted to lathi-charge, in which about 20 persons, including women were injured. The police arrested 20 persons and took them to Mirdoddi police station as tension continued for the next couple of hours. Later, villagers of Erravelli commenced their journey towards Rajiv Rahadari stating that they would stage a dharna on the highway. Some women from these villages also threatened to immolate themselves, if they were not allowed to hold dharna on Rajiv Rahadari. As some villagers started pelting stones, the police started caning the mob and later fired tear-gas shells.
Congress leaders C. Damodar Rajanarasimha, V. Sunitha Laxma Reddy also took up padayatra.