T State out of political bounds now


The process involving the formation of a separate Telangana state will rest largely with the general public rather than the political leaders, Telangana Rashtra Samiti general secretary Subhash Reddy said on Thursday.

A committee comprising both the Home Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary will be formed in the next couple of days and they would receive representations from the people and not the political leaders, he told rediff.com.

As per the discussion with the Home Minister it was decided that the committee would start receiving applications and representations from various people before handing over a report.

During the meeting with Home Minister P Chidambaram, TRS Chief K Chandrasekhar Rao made it clear that the general opinion of the public was that their views were not being taken into account.

“Why should only the political leaders have a say in the matter? The general public too should be given a chance to submit their opinion on the matter,” he said.

Further, the TRS chief also told the Home Minister that a time frame to form the state ought to be set, but the maximum the people are willing to wait is months and not years.

Once the committee is set up, the Home and Cabinet secretary would receive applications, opinions and representations from leaders of the various Joint Action Committees, Teachers’ Unions, Students’ Unions and prominent members of the general public.

These associations or unions will have to collectively seek the opinion of the general public and present it before the committee.

Once this process is complete, the report would be submitted to the Union government.

Based on the representations and depending on the majority voice, the government would take necessary action. If the majority is in favour of Telangana, then a Bill would have to be placed in the assembly, debated by the MLAs and then passed. However, it is likely that there would not be any opposition to the Bill if the majority voice seeks for a separate state.

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Telangana:The Waiting Game Continues

Home Minister P Chidambaram has assured Telangana Rastriya Samiti chief K Chandrashekhar Rao that all steps will be taken to create a separate state, but sought some time to act on the issue.

During the meeting, the violent agitations going on in Andhra Pradesh in support of the Telangana movement were discussed, and the home minister told Rao that a new state cannot be carved out in the backdrop of such violence.

Rao retorted that the violent protests in Andhra and Rayalseema were caused mainly by some leaders and the people of those regions were not opposed to the creation of Telangana.

TRS leaders believe that the meeting with the home minister was in the right direction. “In our view, the process (for the creation of Telangana) has already commenced and the home minister has assured our leader that our demands will be taken into consideration,” said a party leader.

The TRS will now urge the Centre to set a time-frame to resolve the issue. Chidambaram has suggested setting up a committee, headed by a senior bureaucrat, to consider the various view points on the creation of Telangana.

But according to the TRS, setting up such a committee is an unnecessary exercise, and the state should be formed based on the collective demand of the people of Telangana.

Hyderabad should never lose its cosmopolitan nature


A crucial meeting of the Home Minister along with leaders of Andhra Pradesh is slated for today on the Telangana issue. The meeting gains significance in the wake of the vast division that there is in Andhra Pradesh over this issue. However from what can be heard and witnessed it does not appear as though both parties are going to buckle down and will stick to their respective demands.

The Telangana Joint Action Committee will have a crucial role to play from now onwards. It will have to ensure several things- one is to keep the entire tribe united and also ensure come what may, their supporters don’t resort to violence and get branded as mischief mongers in the state.

The Chairman of the Joint Action Committee, Prof. Kodanda Ram is very clear about their stand and says that there is no compromise formula that is available at this point of time. In this interview with rediff.com, he also puts to rest the fears of the people of Andhra and Rayalseema who think they will lose their homes once Telangana is formed.

What was the purpose behind setting up the Telangana Joint Action Committee?
The people of Telangana have been demanding united activity all along. The formation of the Joint Action Committee has only ensured that their dreams have come true and leaders of various political parties have come under one umbrella. People wanted a show of unity and the JAC was set up in order to show that to the people.

Despite the setting up of the Joint Action Committee there does not seem to be any reselution to the problem. Various political parties continue to oppose the demand for a separate state. Could you comment on this please?

The Joint Action Committee does not mean a merger. Each political party has its own identity and will continue to have that. What we at the JAC want to ensure is that all political parties come under one roof or umbrella and resolve the entire issue without getting into any kind of conflict. It is a long process, but we are hopeful it would happen.

What does the JAC plan to do in future?
The Joint Action Committee has a three pronged strategy. First and foremost we have no intention of working at cross purposes. Secondly we want to create an awareness and have a common minimum understanding on basic issues. Finally the JAC also wants to ensure that there is a common minimum programme of action on this issue

What is the opinion of the JAC on the various political parties which are opposing the formation of Telangana?
Only the Telangana Rastriya Samithi and the Bharatiya Janata Party have a clear stand on this issue and that is they are in favour of the formation of Telangana. The Praja Rajyam Party is divided into two on this issue. The main problem that we face is from the Telegu Desam Party and the Congress. These parties are heavily divided and this is what is causing the delay.

There is an important meeting with the Home Minister today. How do you think the equation of the issue would change after this meeting?
The meeting is a make or break one. One thing I can say for sure is that the division within the TDP, Congress and PRP will become sharper after this meeting. These parties have two options before them. Either they will have to convince their leaders to tow the line or they will need to break away permanently. The days to come will eventually result in the polarization of all political forces.

Is there a slight possibility of a compromise on this issue?
I am afraid there is no question of a compromise. This movement has come way too far and there is no question of going back. However what could be done is that all leaders sit across the table and have a peaceful discussion on this issue and form the state.

Hyderabad is the bone of contention here. What is your view about the same?
Hyderabad will always be with Telangana and the rest of the citizens will enjoy equal status.

There is an issue pertaining to the investors who appear to be scared of investing in Hyderabad if Telangana is formed. What are your thoughts about this?
Telangana will require a lot of investors and industries. There is absolutely no need for the investor to be scared. In no way is the fight of the people of Telangana with the investor. The reason why the investor has his apprehensions is because there are some vested interests who are coming in the way and floating a propaganda. The people of Telangana will always support the investor as long as they don’t come in the way of political demands. We will ensure that the investor will remain in Hyderabad and will take all steps necessary to safeguard their interests.

Will the Mulki rule of the Nizam return once Telangana is formed? ( The Mulki rule mandates that any outsider will have to live 14 years in the state to be eligible for equal rights)
Not possible at all. The Constitution has incorporated all these people and things cannot be contrary to the Indian constitution. At this point of time there is no tension among the people of Andhra and Rayalseema. The tension is being created by some of the leaders. We are in no way opposed to the outsiders. However in federalism we need to ensure that the development of the local people. I would like to point out here that Hyderabad is a cosmopolitan city and under no circumstances can it lose this status. Whatever change may occur, Hyderabad can and should not never lose its cosmopolitan nature since it needs that to sustain itself. If at any point there is an attempt to change that nature, then it will prove disastrous for Hyderabad and there will be terrible tension. All people living in Telangana will and have to be protected at any cost. This is what we will strive for and ensure it happens.

A Muslim could become chief minister of Telagana

Contrary to belief, the Muslim community has come out in support of the movement for the formation of a separate Telangana state. Muslims in the Telangana region feel that all these years they have been treated as outsiders in their own place and believe that once the state is formed, a lot of their problems will be solved.

The community claim that as they are the main sufferers in a united state, the time has come to speak up and be heard collectively. Leading the movement in Hyderabad is Lateef Mohammad Khan, chief of the Muslim Forum For Telangana, who says that they are fed up of being branded as ISI agents and rowdy-sheeters.

In an interview to rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Khan speaks extensively about the role Muslims want to play and how their lives would change once Telangana is formed.

We thought Muslims were opposed to the formation of Telangana. What happened? Why has that stand changed?
We have not changed our stand. Our stand was always for a separate Telangana. It was just a propaganda being floated by late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy that the Muslims were opposing Telangana’s formation.

The Majlis-e Ittihad al-Muslimin, which largely represents the Muslims, especially in Hyderabad, does not seem to have taken a stand on the issue. What are your thoughts about the same?

The MIM says they are in favour of the formation of a separate state. However, the Muslims in Hyderabad, at least, have some doubts about them. We have been told by reliable sources that we should not trust the MIM, as they are sitting on the lap of the Congress party which is against the formation of a separate state.

However, the MIM cannot continue this way for long since the movement has gone into the hands of the people and eventually they will have to come around and support our cause.

There is a lot being spoken about the Nizam’s rule. Some say that post-Telangana, the state would prosper as it did under the Nizam. What is the take of Muslims on this issue?

We agree that the Nizam’s rule was feudal in nature. But, the Nizam protected the welfare of the people. He had imposed the ‘Mulki’ rule, under which in matters of education and employment preference would be given to the people of Telangana.

There was another interesting rule, which was in force under the Nizam. People who migrated to and spent 14 years in Hyderabad were given equal rights. After the 1948 police action, Andhra people started migrating to Hyderabad.

The people of Andhra were recruited in military and civil sectors and we, the people of Telangana, were told that we do not know English and Telugu. Some 28,000 Andhraites came here during 1968 and during 1986, 59,000 Andhra and Rayalseema region people illegally occupied jobs.

During the Nizam rule, ‘Mulki’ rules were formed to protect the local people. All the agreements were violated the day after the formation of a United Andhra.

At present, some 3,85,000 Andhra and Rayalseema people are occupying jobs in Telangana region. All these jobs are of Telangana, in which our share is included. Coastal Andhra people overlook the historical Charminar, saying that it will not provide any food, and hi-tech city would provide employment to lakhs of people and benefit of crores of rupees would be gained. We are nowhere today.

We question them to point out a single Muslim in the hi-tech city. Hence, we feel that the ‘Mulki’ rule of the Nizam will be in place once Telangana is formed.

Is that not asking for too much? This is India, after all.

Why didn’t anyone think in the past that we too are Indians? We have been deprived of our legitimate rights and I think that some focus exclusively needs to be given to us so that we are able to rise and prove ourselves.

You say the Nizam’s rule was feudal. How would you compare the rule of the Nizam to the present-day Congress rule?

The Nizam had undertaken a lot of developmental works for the people of Telangana. Whatever he did was for the good of the people. However, the Congress has made the people think that we are lazy and speak a funny language. That is all we have gained. To cut a long story short, the Hindus in Telangana are called jokers and the Muslims terrorists.

How would the lives of Muslims change once Telangana is formed?

Once Telangana is formed, the Muslims will have a big part to play. We form 20 per cent of the population of Telangana. We will get more political representation and a Muslim could become a chief minister or at least a deputy chief minister. Till date, there has not been a single Muslim chief minister in Andhra Pradesh.

What about the real estate mafia? How has that changed the equation in today’s fight for a separate state?

When ‘Hyderabad’ was a State, we were rich in wealth. The State had a lot of lakes and agriculture fields. Leafy vegetables were produced in the fields around Hyderabad. The leaders from Rayalseema and Andhra destroyed several acres of lands belonging to the wakf board.

They also destroyed the lakes and ponds and used it to develop real estate. The people of Coastal Andhra became billionaires and Hyderabadi Muslims were forced to come on the roads.

Telangana lost greatly in the past 50 years. Water was never supplied properly for irrigation and all our resources were always diverted. We are living under the worst conditions.

Muslims have been committing suicide unable to pay loans and innocent girls are being married off to Arab Sheikhs for meagre sums. If at all change has to occur in our lives, we should have an equal share in employment and education and representation in politics — for which a separate Telangana state is the only solution.

The time has come to break our silence and as Hazrat Ali (son-in-law of Prophet Mohammed) had said, “There is no meaning for silence when there is a need to speak for justice.”

The Shy Girl Wants A Divorce


Jawaharlal Neheru while announcing the formation of a united Andhra Pradesh had said on the Telangana issue, “an innocent girl called Telangana is being married to a naughty boy called Andhra. It is of their choice to continue or to get separated.

Today the people of Telangana say that the time has come and the innocent girl can no longer stay married to the naughty boy. Several protagonists of the movement say that it is high time the state is given back to them.

Dr Srinivas Raj, one of the protagonists of the Telangana movement has prepared a ready reckoner on the issue. He along with several others have been distributing this booklet among the people of Telangana and convincing the people as to why this movement is important and how their lives would change once their state is given back to them.

In this interview with rediff.com, Dr Raj gives very interesting about the movement. He also goes into length about the backroom politics that is being played in trying to curb this movement.

Would you like to give us a brief introduction to the entire movement called Telangana?

We talk of Jalianwala Bagh with such great interest. No one wants to even think of the massacre that had taken place in Telangana at the time the Nizam was ruling us. The Hyderabad state was under the Nizam and Urdu was the official language at that time. Right from that period of time, the people of Telangana were being suppressed. The Nizam’s army butchered the people of Telangana who sought for their rights and there were at least 6 Jalianwala Bhaghs at that point of time. The problem is that we continue to get suppressed even today and that is why we feel that a separate state is required.

You had a separate state, then what happened?

Between 1948 and 1956 Telangana was a separate state. Hyderabad had several industries including two airports. There was a lot of concentration on the Telangana region and this area has a lot of infrastructure. The Time Magazine had in 1937 featured V Usman Ali Khan as the wealthiest man in the world. This only speaks of the wealth that there was in this region. Once Andhra and Rayalseema came out of the Madras presidency, the people of those regions thought that it would be best to merge Telangana with their regions. Our Assembly building, the High court building were all from the Nizam’s period. Moreover in 1909 M Visveswaraya, the father of engineering had constructed an underground drainage system in Hyderabad which is being used till date. 69 per cent of the Krishna catchment area is in Telangana region. The revenues that were being generated out of the Telangana region were good too when compared to Andhra and Rayalseema. The very fact that Dr B R Ambedkar had said that Hyderabad should be made the second capital of India speaks volumes about the region. Moreover Hyderabad is a connecting point between North and South India. They wanted ready made infrastructure which was in abundance in Telangana and hence they managed to pressurize the government of India to consider their decision.

Were there promises broken when the Union Government merged Telangana?

Yes the very first promise that was broken was regarding the name of the state. The union government had promised us that the state would be known as the Andhra Telangana state. However overnight the leaders from the Andhra and Rayalseema regions managed to convince the union government to change the name to Andhra Pradesh. This was the first of the promises to be broken. After that the leaders of the two other regions worked consistently to make Telangana a backward region. Another instance of a broken promise is the fact that the Shriram Sagar water project in Nizamabad is lying in the cold storage since the past 40 years.

What is the main justification for seeking a separate state? Do you really think that things would improve?

It is absolutely important that we be given a separate state. Our accent and our culture is different. Our style is very Deccan and we use a lot of Urdu when we speak. We have a mixture of Northern and Southern style. We even celebrate Holi. We have every reason to demand for a state. To be honest, if Telangana is carved out it would be bigger than 100 countries in the world and larger than 18 different states in the country. Once Telangana is carved out it will be 1,14,800 square kilometers.

What we fail to understand is that how did the Government manage to bypass all of you and merge Telangana?

We concentrated more on development and not politics. The simple fact is that we did not have access to the central leadership like the way the leaders of Andhra and Rayalseema had.

How do the people of Telangana region look at the people of the rest of Andhra Pradesh?

The question should be the other way around. Since day one, we have been treated like second rated citizens. Depriving us of development is one issue, but the fact that everyone makes fun of us is also an important point over here. Take the film industry for instance. There are no cinema heroes from our region. Moreover what hurts the most is that the language spoken by the people of Telangana is always attributed to a joker or a villain in the movie.

There has been terrible violence due to this issue. Would you want to justify that?

The violence is not half of what the media has been projecting. I have statistics to support my view. In the Telangana region, the Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation faced a loss of Rs 7 crore due to the protests. This was mainly because the services were shut down and also due to incidents of stone pelting. Whereas in Andhra and Rayalseema the losses were to the tune of Rs 70 crore and this was largely because buses were being burnt. The BSNL too had said that at the Shrikrishna Devaraya university at Rayalseema, students had burnt its optic fibres which resulted in a loss of Rs 2 crore. There was also an incident in which supporters of J C Divaker Reddy in Rayalseema had bombed a railway station.causing a loss of Rs 10 crore. Now it is clear that the people of Telangana have not been protesting in these regions. I can say with gurantee that we have only protested in a democratic manner. All these statistics have never been reported by the media since 95 per cent of the media is being controlled by barons from the Andhra and Rayalseema belts. The media too has been asked to project only incidents taking place in the Rayalseema region. Please understand this is a demand by us for the past 50 years, it is not something that has happened overnight.

What is your view on the flip flop by political parties in Andhra Pradesh?

Both the Telegu Desam Party and the Praja Rajyam Party had said that they would support the bill if it is introduced. Till the 2009 elections, the TDP was against Telangana, but at the time of the polls they joined hands with the TRS since it felt that the demand was very strong. Today due to pressure from the other regions, they are back tracking. There was also this issue when many legislators raised a point saying that the union government had acted in haste by announcing the formation of a separate state during midnight. I would like to ask them whether they had a problem when India got independence at mid night.

This issue has scared off investors. Aren’t you worried that prices will drop and the economy will suffer.

The people of Andhra and Rayalseema have purchased lands from the poor people of Telangana at throw away prices. Over the years they have inflated the prices by 100 times. These persons are worried. There is also the middle class which has invested in land in the Telangana region. I would say for a fact that the prices would drop by half once Telangana is formed. However this is temporary. Once the state is formed and the Telangana government invites investors, the real estate would be back to normal.

Finally, there is a murmur that Jagan Reddy could be behind all this in a bid to overthrow Rosaiah. What is your take on this?

(Laughs), He is very much behind the scene or at least was behind it. He did try and overthrow Rosaiah by escalating the tension. However things went out of control when the movement went into the hands of the Telangana people. He is now in soup since there is pressure from the people of his belt. He is now trying to paint a different picture to come out of the soup.

JAC decides Telangana agitation to be peaceful

A Joint Action Committee formed to address the Telangana issue decided on Wednesday night not to resort to bundhs, which affect public life.
The meeting headed by Telangana Rastriya Samithi Chief K Chandrashekhar Rao also decided to keep the agitation peaceful.

A TRS leader, who was part of the meeting that had leaders from all the parties belonging to the Telangana region, told rediff.com that they would continue to step up the pressure but would never resort to violence.

The meeting, which just concluded, also decided that there would be dharnas held in the entire Telangana region, but they would all be peaceful. The meeting also revealed its displeasure over the delay tactics being adopted by the Union home ministry.

At the meeting it was decided that they would hold dharnas and protest meetings only to keep reminding the government that their voice regarding the issue has not been lowered. The meeting also decided to adopt a ‘wait and watch’ policy.

“We will wait till January 5 to see what result the meeting of the home minister would yield,” he said.

Several prominent leaders of the Telangana region including former home minister of Andhra Pradesh Jana Reddy were also present at the meeting.

Give us our state back

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which has spearheaded the movement for a separate state in Andhra Pradesh, is furious over the Centre’s apparent backtracking over the issue.

In an interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, TRS general secretary Subhash Reddy states that the party is willing to give the government some time to resolve the issue, but will rest only after they “get their state back”.

What is the next course of action regarding the Telangana issue?

They (the Centre) want a consensus and we will do our best to give them one. We have convened a meeting of the Joint Action Committee. We will discuss this issue with various people and decide on the next course of action.

What will be the main focus of your discussion?

Fixing a time frame (to resolve the issue). It is important that the government tells us clearly by what time they will return Telangana to us.

How long are you ready to wait for a separate state?

The government will get a maximum of five to six weeks to start the process. The TRS will ask the government to commence the process in the next session of Parliament. We want them to discuss this matter seriously and not take us for a ride. The process has to start by then and there should be no flip-flop after that. By the time the next session of Parliament is convened, the government should have an action plan on the issue.

Both the state and the Union government have declared that there can be no Telangana without a consensus on the issue.

See, consensus is not the issue here at all. The state has been taken away from us and it should be returned. The voice of the people needs to be heard and everyone in the Telangana region wants their state back. Why isn’t anyone taking that into consideration?

Let the government appoint some educated people or form a committee under a Supreme Court judge and find out what the people want. In a democracy, the opinion of the people should be considered, not the opinion of the political parties.

Why do you think the political parties are creating a fuss over this issue?

The Telugu Desam Party chief (N Chandrababu Naidu) belongs to Andhra, (Praja Rajyam chief) Chiranjeevi belongs to coastal Andhra. Though the Congress chief (D Srinivas) belongs to Telangana, a majority of the party’s leaders seem to be opposed to it. It is sad that all these people are more concerned about their next political battle rather than the development of Telangana and the aspirations of the local people.

How do you think Chief Minister K Rosaiah handled the situation?

Very poorly. But that was expected since he belongs to coastal Andhra.

What is your take on the demand to make Hyderabad a Union territory?

This is not acceptable at all. How can an integral part of Telangana be shared or taken away? We will never accept this at any cost. Just give us our state back and end the matter.

Incidents of violence have repeatedly marred protests and agitations on this issue.

Our chief K Chandrasekhara Rao has said that there shall be no violence. What can we do if some politicians are stage-managing or sponsoring it? On Wednesday, when the home minister (P Chidambaram) made the statement (that the situation had altered and political parties are divided on Telangana), we had decided to protest peacefully. But then so many people came out on the roads and started protesting; all this was stage-managed to show the country that we are making a demand through violent means.

Our people did come out on the roads and protest in a peaceful manner, but then some anti-social elements joined in.

Why did the government turn a blind eye when we were seeking Telangana through peaceful means? We will continue to protest in a peaceful manner, but will not settle for anything less than a separate state.

Do you think that the government has betrayed you?

To a large extent, yes. The Government of India was serious about giving us a separate state. But then there was the influence of billionaire Congress members of Parliament, who have large-scale real estate interests in Hyderabad. They are the ones who made the government change its mind and hence it backed out at the last minute.

Rao did not act despite warnings on Babri

Former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao is back in the news with the All India Muslim Personal Law Board accusing him of being equally responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. The board says that Rao could never be forgiven for the demolition of the mosque.
Dr S Q R Ilyas, convener, Committee on Babri Masjid of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, told rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa about Rao’s role and also on what should be done to put to rest the entire controversy.

What role, according to you, did Narasimha Rao play in the demolition of the Babri Masjid?

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board is of the opinion that without the tactical help of people in the Union government at that point of time, the demolition would have not been possible at all. Narasimha Rao was the prime minister and had all the information regarding the demolition, despite which he did nothing to stop it.


Is it something that you just realised or did you know it all along that the ruling government was aware of this plot?

No, it is not something that we have just realised. In fact, we had known this all along. A couple of days before the demolition of the Babri Masjid, we had even met with Rao and expressed our fears to him regarding the same.

What did he say then?

He assured us that nothing would happen and there was nothing for us to worry.

It could have been a failure of the intelligence also. Why blame Rao alone for this?

I am not blaming him alone. There was no failure of intelligence. Rao had all information through the Intelligence Bureau. This fact has been indicated by the Liberhan Commission report too. I can say for a fact that the Union government then was equally responsible for this incident. Being the head of the state, Rao ignored the warnings. He was in a position to stop the act, but sadly that did not happen.

Do you think that Rao had intentionally not acted despite having specific warnings?

I would not say it was intentional. In fact at the moment I cannot say that he had not acted intentionally. However, it is on record that he did not act despite having all information and also absolute control over the situation.

So do you think that the Union government at that time was the main culprit?

No I don’t think so. We still maintain that it was the Bharatiya Janata Party, which was the main culprit.

What about Atal Bihari Vajpayee?

Vajpayee is also responsible for this incident. He was heading the BJP at that time. However, we would like to point out that there has been a flaw in the Liberhan Commission report. Despite naming him, he has not been issued with a notice. We demand that a notice be issued to him and he be called on to explain what he thought of the situation at that point of time.

What is the demand of the board at this moment?

The board has always and will continue to demand that Section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code (Conspiracy) be included in the chargesheet against those involved in the incident. We demand that those responsible for this incident, and who continue to walk free, be brought to book.

In this case there is so much emphasis on the courts, which are seized off the matter. Why is that none of you are even bringing the judiciary into this issue?
We demand that the cases against the accused be expedited in the various courts that are hearing the matter. The very fact that despite so many years these persons walk about freely, is an indication that the legal system is not working properly.

What everyone tends to forget is the core issue. Bringing these persons to justice alone will not solve the problem. Do you agree with this?

Yes I do. The core issue is the title suit which is still pending before the Allahabad high court. Once this issue is resolved, only then there will be a solution to the problem.

What is the progress of the case?

One of the judges in the bench has been transferred and the hearings have been postponed after that. There needs to be a day-to-day hearing of the matter so that the matter is closed as soon as possible. A new bench needs to be constituted immediately, and despite several demands, it has not been done as yet. Prior to one of the judges on the bench getting transferred, we were hopeful that that the matter would have ended soon.

What do you expect from the BJP leadership in such a situation?

The BJP has no role to play now. It is the Union government which should act upon the report, and also ensure that the case is settled immediately. Everything depends on how the Union government deals with the matter, and even the state government has no role to play in this anymore.

When do you think this entire issue will end?

The day the people responsible for the shameful act of demolishing Babri Masjid are punished and the matter pertaining to the title suit is disposed off.

Ram and Rahim as Good neighbours


 
Ram Puniyani
 
The leak and tabling of Liberhan Commission report has created a big turmoil in the country. While most of the sides have been shouting hoarse about their own position on the issue, not much has been talked about the future solution of this vexed problem.
We recall that the mosque built by Mir Baqui around five centuries ago has been deliberately dragged into the controversy. At the time of Independence it was a mosque, no political party had claimed anything to the contrary. As per the understanding in the constitution, the status of 1947 was to be maintained in cases of places of worship. The installation of Ram lalla idols by deceit in midnight of 22nd Jan 1949 sowed the seeds of controversy. Later in 1975 the dispute between two local groups was taken up by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and in 1989, BJP decided to make a political issue out of it. The tragic demolition and the making of makeshift Ram temple there have added new dimensions to the issue. 
It is around this issue that Hindu and Muslim communalists raised the emotional pitch and the tragedies which followed, the demolition, the post demolition communal violence and communalization, polarization of society along religious lines are too well known by now. The court case regarding the same is dragging from last several years without any outcome so far. 
Where do we go from here? Do we let this sore to continue on the body politic of the nation? This may act as the trouble spot for the future. It is time that we look at all the aspects of the issue and try to bring a peaceful solution to the issue. 
The first step in the issue is to realize that it the communal forces from both communities which have claimed that they represent the community and so they will decide on behalf of Hindus or Muslims respectively. The fact of the matter and, this has been confirmed by Liberhan Commission report, is that these communal groups neither represent the community nor reflect the opinion the communities as a whole. It is imperative that we look forward to the liberal sections, leadership from these communities to come forward and talk in the language of reconciliation. The liberal sections are those who have so far been ignored, but they are the one’s who have talked of peace and accommodation. The election results have also shown that those claiming to represent the aspirations of a particular community have been routed in popular elections. The elected representatives of the area have a major role to play in bringing the consensus. We cannot undo the past but we can definitely chart a peaceful path for future. The peaceful talks between these sections along with the local people of Ayodhya are the central core for solution.
The people of Ayodhya have also been the victims of the demolition and other offshoots of the dispute. What they think should be done at the site has to be taken seriously. They have to be taken on board along with the liberal leadership of the communities. Today the most amicable solution has to veer around respecting Ram and Allah both. Both temple and mosque can be accommodated in the area, with equal importance and respect. 
Along with temple and mosque in the same spot we need to bring up a museum dedicated to the great tradition of Ayodhya. Ayodhya has not only been popular for Lord Ram, but it had also been a place for Buddhists and also people of other faith as well. It has been a sort of ‘No War zone’ (A- no, Yudhya-War, Ayodhya- A no war zone), and that spirit has to be cultivated all around. The emotive and divisive appeals need to be rejected by the nation as a whole. In that light the museum-memorial has to be the one of syncretic traditions, of saints who were followed by Muslims and Hindus both, of Sufis who again were respected by Hindus and Muslims both. While the history has been made to degenerate into hoarse shouting, a cool reasoned archeological based understanding should help us to go further. The negotiations between the communities have to be encouraged to the last. 
The second line of action has to relate to the court verdict. The court verdict should be final for all of us. The formulation that faith will decide the birth place of the Lord has no place in a society governed by law and reason. The community leaders must give undertaking to respect the court verdict and act accordingly. Those not having faith in the courts cant be the part of the process of reconciliation as reconciliation has to be done in the framework of Indian Constitution. We have invested too much in this issue and it is time that not only this but even other such issues are not given any importance to ensure that the country, nation, can focus on the issues related to bread, butter shelter, employment and health.

The battle for Hyderabad


The decision to split Andhra Pradesh may have caused thousands to celebrate across Hyderabad, but it has made a considerable number of residents of the state capital apprehensive about their future.

While original inhabitants of Telangana region remain unaffected by the developments, it is the ‘settlers’ (as they are called in Hyderabad) from Rayalseema and Andhra, who are worried.

The future is bleak, believes realtor Sadashiva Reddy, and goes on to explain, “I hail from the Rayalseema belt and have been working in this city since the past two decades. We have always shared a cordial relationship with the people of Telangana region. However, during the recent agitation, we could feel the discontentment among the people of Telangana and they felt that we had deprived them of their right. I will not be surprised if we are asked to leave once Hyderabad is made the capital of Telangana.”

Marataza Khan, a taxi driver who originally hails from the old city of Hyderabad, says that people from outside Telangana need not worry. “We have accepted the people of Rayalseema and Andhra and we don’t have any intentions of creating problems for them”.

But he adds, “Some people from other belts, who have deprived us of our rights and blocked the development of Telangana, will face problems. There are several instances when people from the Rayalseema belt have grabbed land belonging to the people of this region. These people will face problems”.

Venaktesh, who runs a small tea stall near the Charminar, hails from Warrangal and fears that he may be forced to go back to his town. “I keep hearing that people from the non-Telangana belt will be asked to move out. I have been living in Hyderabad since the last seven years and it will be unfortunate if I have to leave make a start all over again”.

But the issue of Hyderabad becoming a part of Telangana has worried real estate developers the most.

“Hyderabad has grown considerably in the past couple of years. Thanks to the IT boom, the prices of real estate have shot up. Since today orning, I have been flooded with calls regarding the fate of investments in the city. I think it would be in the best interest of the investors if Hyderabad is made a Union Territory and the capital of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” says realtor Suman Reddy.

Reddy points out that the issue is not merely a sentimental one; the financial aspect of such a decision also had to be considered.

“I don’t see any sort of assurance being given by any of the Telangana leaders to the investors about their safety. This will definitely scare them away,” predicts Reddy.

Shabir, an auto drive, wants Hyderabad to remain a part of Andhra Pradesh. “Why should they take it away now? People from across the state have contributed towards making Hyderabad what it is today. The livelihoods of so many, including people from non-Telangana regions, are dependant on this state and they should not be deprived of that,” he says.

Dismissing the assurances by Telangana supporters, he says, “It will be another state for us. I think that the idea of having a common capital would be the best thing and it would be in the interest of people from all three regions”.

Nalini, who works at a medical store, has a completely different take on the entire issue. She believes that in spite of the Centre’s promise, a new Telangana state will never be formed and the issue will die down soon.

“If Hyderabad is taken away from Andhra, I will move out. I will prefer to live in my own state, where I have equal rights and am not looked upon as an outsider,” she explains.

The Muslim community in the old city, which has been openly supporting the demand for a separate Telangana, stress that Hyderabad should be made the capital of the new state.

“We are ready to continue with our protests until our dream is achieved. But there is no reason for the businessmen to worry; we have no intentions of chasing them out of the state. There is no need for anyone to leave Hyderabad at least,” says Lateed Mohammad Khan, who has been leading the minority community over this issue.

Khan claims that the government had dithered so long over granting permission for a separate state due to immense pressure from the land mafia. “Some elements of the land mafia have even demanded Rs 2 lakh crore compensation from the government, fearing that they will have to move out of Hyderabad now,” he says.