Friday, September 28, 2012

Dangerous Indecisiveness over Telangana
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

‘Hyderabad Chalo’ is the slogan of the Telangana Activist for the proposed march on September 30th for the statehood demand. The city of Hyderabad is hosting the World Conference on Bio Diversity and remains peacefully tense. The indecisiveness of the Central government may be dangerous for the peace and stability in the state.

The Central government inability to respond to the Telangana statehood is causing deep unrest in the region. All the delaying tactics are now consumed and people are now prepared for the big battle as they know that the political manipulators might thwart the historical demand of Telangana. The people always question as what is the sanctity of a Central order announced by the then home minister Mr P.Chidambaram on December 9th, 2010 for granting statehood to Telangana and process to be started. But as the Andhra lobby created the unprecedented situation in rest of the state against the division of Andhra Pradesh, the entire issue is kept on the backburner. It has become hugely difficult to understand why political parties are playing games which otherwise could have been resolved in an amicable way after all Andhra Pradesh would not be the first state to be divided and not the last one too as demands for separate states are coming from different states. The way Gulam Nabi Azad and Vylar Ravi of the Congress Party have insensitively responded to the entire crisis shows how the ruling party is playing politics with the sentiments of the people.
The Centre appointed Shrikrishna Committee to look into the matter which gave voluminous report to the Home Ministry and suggested various measures including joint capital of Hyderabad. It accepted the fact that in the Telangana region the sentiment of the people are for a separate state and they will not accept anything less than that. For two years, the government took shelter under the Shri Krishna Commission Report but now people are frustrated and political parties will become redundant if the government does not take a decision as the movement is already outside the hands of political parties.

Though, various small political parties have emerged here each one claiming their own brand of Telangana yet it is a fact that if political parties bargain with the center, they would find it difficult to find their political feet in the region. Jagan Mohan Reddy tried this with all his might and money power, used his caste card too but the protest against him was too big in the region. The Andhra Pradesh politicians will find it difficult to be here without any protest if they walk around. There is a deep antipathy as rumors; perceptions are building up against those who disagree with you on anything. The uncertainty of the decision is causing greater distress among the students here. Over 830 students etc have committed suicides due to this as the Telangana sentiment is so high that any dissent is not acceptable. You are accepted to support the demand. The stories of Andhra Landlords, Industrialists and politicians exploiting the resources in the region are known to all the people. There is truth that the natural resources are sucked up political machination and mining is a huge industry mostly in the hands of the political leaders or their cronies. A large number of agricultural lands was given to crony Industrialists for the SEZ purposes and many of them have not even used the land. Poverty level is high and land reform virtually never happened in this region.
Home Minister Sushil Shinde said that a separate Telangana could invite the domination of Naxalites. The historical fact is that the region was the birth place of many movements including that against Nizam of Hyderabad too before independence but the issue of Telangana identity is equally important and that is why people opposed the United Andhra Pradesh after they realized that in the aftermath of independence the government did not fulfill the gentlemen agreement which resulted in the merger of Telangana with Andhra Pradesh. In the height of protest in 1969 over 360 protesters were killed who are fondly remembered as martyrs for the cause of Telangana. But slowly the Congress Party and its Reddy dominating leadership actually co-opted the movement and it slowed down though fire of Telangana was still with many of the activist. In 2009, Congress Party promised a separate Telangana in its manifesto and won hugely from the region both for the Lok Sabha as well as state Assembly. In December 2009, the Central government declared that the process of Telangana will be initiated after K.Chandrashekhar Rao of the Telangana Rastra Samiti sat on an indefinite fast which revived the sentiment and the entire region was ready to fight this battle for its freedom.

Now, the Congress High Command is battling with the crisis as the Andhra and Telangana regions are not ready to sit with each other. The intellectuals, writers and activists of both the regions are crying foul and virtually come to blows on TV programmes. The common hatred against Andhrites in this region is absolute. That is tragic yet outcome of an indecisiveness of the Central government. The manipulators in Andhra region should have happily agreed to this historic demand and lived peacefully as after all once the state comes into being; it is not that they will demolish everything that is Andhra. The state will have to reorganize and do its own by the political class but the Andhra politicians made the issue a street fight. The fact of the matter is the Andhra Region cannot stop formation of Telangana by bulldozing the popular will of an entire region which wants to separate. This complete emotional break up with rest of the Andhra is because of continuous exploitation by the outsiders called as Doras in the region.

World-over movement for separate identities started and won the battle. The fact is people do not survive with one identity. The Telangana protagonists too hype one common Telangana identity as long as the Statehood is not granted. Once you come into your state, the original identities of different caste and communities emerge and it is here the real test of Telangana comes. Many of the intellectuals and Dalit leaders have expressed their apprehensions on the condition of Dalits in the new state but these are hypothetical questions as people will have to fight their battle even when new state are formed because formation of a state is one struggle and building up the state is another and ensuring participation of all the communities is definitely a much bigger challenge. The problem is that in the din of jingoism and emotional outburst all these different issues get sidelines and those who question are easily branded as against the interest of the statehood. Some of the Dalit leaders too have not done well to oppose the demand and therefore being charged by the supporters as stooges of the ruling party. But such charges and counter charges are part of political movements yet at the moment it would be better for them to come on a common ground.

As Hyderabad prepares for the big Bio Diversity Meet where experts and activists from over 180 countries are participating in the conference from September 30th, the Hyderabad March call given by the Telangana supporters is giving government a deep disturbing sleep. If the Central government does not announce anything, there might be violence in Hyderabad. Already, preventive arrests are being made and campus of Osmania University is already hot where students are again fighting with police daily. The state Government wants the activists to postponed the March and allow the big event happen but the fact is that people have known the delaying tactics of the government and hence not ready to accept this argument.

Politically, a declaration for separate Telangana will help Congress in the region as Telangana Rastra Samiti has promised to merge it with Congress if the statehood is granted. The party will definitely become stronger here if it resolves the issue in favor of Telangana. But if continue to remain manipulating things, it will become irrelevant in all the regions of the State and would virtually be decimated in the 2014 general elections. Everyone knows that it want to resolve the issue with each party on board yet it has not been able to contain the Andhra political leaders not to oppose the issue and fuel fire in the region. It is time for a historic decision on Telangana and get on board all the parties including people of Andhra Pradesh so that the uncertainty does not turn into a permanent hatred against each other and causing unrest in the region forever.

However, given by the reports emerging from Delhi, the Congress Party does not believe in that and it has decided to remain with the same uncertainty. The state government of Kiran Kumar Reddy has unleashed a reign of terror in the region with indiscriminate arrest of Telangana political activists. Hundreds of them have been rounded up in different districts in Warrangal, Karimnagar, Nalgonda and Niazambad and charges framed against them are non-bailable. Hyderabad is looking like a fort where with heavy police everywhere. Despite heavy armed police on major places, the governments still know that activist will turn up in large number as all the political parties from the region have supported the march and decided to join it. Congress Party may talk about national sentiment but it has lost game and will be solely blamed for the crisis in the region. The uncertainty will only make the people from other regions in and around Telagnana vulnerable to violence and tremendous social pressure. The politicians have nothing to lose but the people of the area are going to lose their sleep for next few days. It shows how the government and political parties first aggravate an issue and then moan for losing control over it. Telangana crisis is created by the government’s inability to see the writing on the wall as it is resisting the powerful vested interest of mining and real estate mafias who own land and property in Hyderabad and rest of Telangana. For their profit, if congress party wants to make the entire region burnt, then it is shocking and self-defeating.