The farmers’ movement against Mallanna Sagar reservoir has been slowly snowballing into an anti-reservoir movement.  

Congress leaders in Telangana had called for a bandh on Monday to protest the police’s lathi charge on farmers who were agitating against the Mallanna Sagar project in drought-prone Medak, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s home district.

The Congress, not wanting to lose an opportunity to win favour, decided to call for a programme to express solidarity with farmers who were injured during the police lathi charge on Sunday.

As per the program, Congress leaders from all districts were to reach Gajwel town for a dharna.

But their plan was cut short when the TRS government deployed unusual force at Hyderabad's Gandhi Bhavan, the headquarters of the Telangana Congress, taking Congress leaders into custody to prevent them from marching to project affected villages in Medak district.

Opposition leader K Jana Reddy, National Disaster Management Authority’s former vice-chairman Marri Sashidhar Reddy, former MP Anjan Kumar Yadav, former minister Sunitha Lakshma Reddy, senior leaders Mallu Batti Vikaramarka and Mallu Ravi were amongst the leaders who have been taken into custody.

The police reportedly surrounded Gandhi Bhavan, located at busy Nampalli area, and prevented leaders from leaving for Gajwel in a bus.

Later, after negotiations the police allowed them to go to a nearby square to rally. But the moment the leaders, led by Jana Reddy, Md Ali Shabbir and  Shabbir were let out , the police arrested them and shifted them to various police stations in Hyderabad.

Heated arguments ensued between the police and the Congress leaders when their 'Chalo Mallanna Sagar" was foiled.

Meanwhile, a team led by former PCC president Ponnala Lakshmaian was arrested when it entered Chief Minister's district limits from Warangal district.

Jaipal Reddy, who came to Gandhi Bhavan later, condemned the arrests.

Defending the farmers movement, Jaipal said there was no need for a project with 50 TMC impounding capacity. “Where is the need for such a huge project? There are doubts in the minds of people about the motive of the project. Let the government first clarify them,” the former union minister, who is rarely seen in such tense situations, asked.

He added that the repression unleashed by the KCR-led government won't stop the farmers and the Congress’ from fighting against the anti- people measures taken.

Wondering whether the huge reservoir was being built only to take away lands from farmers, he alleged that “there is no transparency in the manner in which the project was being taken up."

He claims the government has taken a unilateral decision and has been forcefully suppressing the protests by people who face eviction from 14 villages.

Sashidhar Reddy, Shabbir Ali opposed the forcible acquisition of land under the GO 123, in which, there was is no provision for rehabilitation and resettlement like in the Land Acquisition Act.

The TRS government, however, has alleged that the opposition parties were inciting the people to protest. "Thre is no meaning in the Congress and other opposition parties'  agitation against the Mallanna Sagar when the  government is ready to pay compensation under LA Act 2013 or GO 123 or any other provision suggested by the parties,” Irrigation minister Harish Rao clarified.