Several Congress leaders in Telangana were placed under house arrest on Thursday, while some of them were taken into preventive custody in Hyderabad and other parts of the state as police stopped them from organising a 'Chalo Secretariat' programme.
The proposed event, which sought to 'highlight people's grievances', was not permitted in view of the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown norms, the police said.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka said that he sought an appointment with Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to discuss a host of issues including the COVID-19 situation.
"Unfortunately, instead of giving an appointment, they are arresting us," he claimed. Asking for an appointment is not a crime, he said, adding that as a legislator, it was his duty and right to go to the Secretariat and make a representation.
"They are not allowing us to do our duties," he said.
The Congress leader said he would move a privilege motion in the Assembly for being obstructed from discharging his duties. Police personnel were posted outside the residences of many Congress leaders to prevent them from moving outside.
"They were trying to go to the Secretariat....no political gathering is permitted as per the lockdown norms. As a preventive step, they were put under house arrest and some of them were also taken into preventive custody in Hyderabad and some other places of Telangana," a senior police official told PTI.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, MPs Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and Revanth Reddy, besides former MP V Hanumantha Rao, were among the leaders placed under house arrest.
Komatireddy alleged that there is a 'dictatorial rule' in Telangana, stating that the Opposition was being denied the right to raise its voice.
"The TRS government, which had asked people not to pay rent during the lockdown has now imposed a huge burden on them with inflated electricity bills for three months," he said.
The MP stated that the government added to the burden on consumers in the name of electricity slabs. He said the government should provide relief to people in the time of distress, but it was adding to their woes.
The Congress leaders called for a 'Chalo Secretariat' event to demand that the government waive the electricity bills for three months. Many people in Telangana have complained of receiving enormous amounts, allegedly because no meter readings have taken place since the lockdown.
They also demanded the implementation of the Rythu Bandhu scheme without any conditions and a special package in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.
(With PTI and IANS inputs)