Hyderabad: Tension prevailed in Mallanna Sagar area in Medak district of Telangana as police fired in the air and baton charged farmers protesting over acquisition of their land by the government for an irrigation project.

Few protesters were injured in the baton charge by police at Erravalli village in Kondapaka mandal.

Police opened fire two round in the air to disperse stone-pelting protestors. Those injured in baton charge include Telugu Rythu state president Pratap Reddy.

The trouble began after people from villages which are facing submergence due to Mallanna Sagar project were heading towards Medak-Karimnagar highway to stage a road blockade.

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Police tried to stop the protestors, leading to an argument between the two sides.

One of the protestors attempted self-immolation, triggering tension.

People from 14 villages in the district had been protesting for over two months, opposing the project.

Fearing acquisition of his land by the government, Bacchani Narasaiah (72), a farmer from Pallepahad, one of the villages to be submerged by the project, committed suicide last week.

The main opposition Congress party, other opposition parties, farmers’ bodies and Telangana Joint Action Committee are backing the protest by farmers.

Meanwhile, Irrigation Minister Harish Rao has appealed to people and police to exercise restraint. He said people should not fall into opposition’s trap.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government plans to build Mallanna Sagar reservoir across Godavari river, which is likely to displace people in 14 district in Medak, the native district of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

The people are not ready to part with their lands under GO 123 issued by the government. They are demanding adequate compensation under the Land Acquisition Act 2013.

Mallanna Sagar project is designed to irrigate 12 lakh acres in Nizamabad, Medak, Rangareddy and Nalgonda districts.

Being taken up at a cost of Rs 9,800 crore, it is one of the biggest projects planned by the government.

The row over land acquisition is the first major public protest being faced by KCR, who completed two years in office last month.

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