No takers for new Telangana formula

The Congress is attempting one last ditch attempt to force a solution to the Telangana issue and has now suggested Ghorkaland model of autonomy. While this idea was mooted by supermo of the Party, Sonia Gandhi, it would be Ghulam Nabi Azad who would break the news in the coming weeks regarding this formula.

However the activists of Telangana are furious and say that they will not settle for anything short of a separate Telangana state. People will come out on to the streets and fight tooth and nail opposing any compromise formula other than the formation of the state, says Dr Prithviraj, leader of the students forum for Telangana.

The Congress leaders from Telangana have made several attempts in the past few days to force a situation on this issue. During their meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh a couple of days back, they had expressed their helplessness of returning to their constituencies. The PM had assured them of some solution to the issue. However the Congress which had announced that the process for the formation of a separate state had commenced has now suggested that it would grant autonomy instead of forming a separate state.

As per the suggestion, a council would be formed and Telangana would get a huge pay package. Among the other proposals suggested for Telangana are the formation of a Telangana Regional Council and also a preparation of an annual report card which would look into the problems of the people of the region.

Congress sources in Andhra Pradesh say that this is the most likely solution to the problem. The people of the region have been complaining about lack of facilities and other developmental projects. There has to be a middle path to the issue and we too feel that this is the best solution. We will need to convince the people of the region that this is good for them. Breaking up a state is not easy and one must also take into consideration the sentiments of the people who hail from the rest of Andhra Pradesh.

The Congress leaders from the Telangana region have however decided to oppose this move. They say that it becomes impossible for them to get back to their constituencies and the people are not prepared to settle for anything short of a separate state. Keshava Rao, an MP from the Telangana region says that the same model which has been applied to Darjeeling cannot be applied here.

This is not democray but hypocricy says Dr Prithviraj. Don’t you think this is ridiculous especially when Telangana has been announced in both houses of Parliament. Anything short of a separate Telangana is not acceptable to us. One must remember that all these promises will not reach any of the people at the end of it. Autonomy is not a solution. This not only includes our financial plight, but also our self respect. This formula will not achieve any of those goals, he also added.

The political Joint Action Committee for Telangana too says that the formula is stupid. There is no way in which we are going to agree to this. They have said that they will make the people come around. This is not possible, a member of the committee also added.

The students would be ones who would play a big role this time in opposing this proposal. In the days to come, our protests would intensify. The students say that even if they decide to allocate all the funds in the budget for the next ten years to Telangana, we will still not be agreeable to that.

They have also come down heavily on Jaipal Reddy. Who is he to talk about the Congress being against regionalism. Does he understand the cause? If he was so confident and was acting as the mouth piece of Sonia Gandhi, they why did he back out of those various political meetings he had to hold in the Telangana region. He too knows what his madam has suggested is all rubbish and he cannot convey this to the people of Telangana, the student’s leader also said.

The Union Government is playing with fire and we defy the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi to come in with military support and meet the people of Telangana. Our respect for them will emerge only if they give us our state.

Dr Prithviraj also goes on to add that the Congress has become a party of rogues and this new suggestion by them has no takers in Telangana. The Congress leaders from Telangana may be making statements for necessary sound bytes, but in reality they have all been sold out and have no meaning for the real cause.

Telagana battle continues

In a bid to intensify their protest seeking statehood status for Telangana, the members of the Telangana Rastriya Samithi and the Bharatiya Janata Party picketed the offices of all the district collectors.

Members of both the parties came out in huge numbers and gheraoed the offices of the district collector and also shouted slogans in favour of a separate state. The political Joint Action Committee for Telangana has said that it would intensify its protests over the coming days and they would continue until the government tables the bill for a separate state in Parliament during the budget session in February. The JAC says that in the next round they would boycott all educational institutions and also ask officers to observe a pen down strike. It would be exactly like the non-cooperation movement undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi, the JAC chief said.

Meanwhile pro Telangana organizations continued to stand outside the houses of representatives of both the Congress and the TDP from Telangana. They have been protesting outside the houses of these public representatives. The protestors have been demanding that the MLAs and MPs of the region put in their papers so that pressure to grant a separate state is given into.

The Congress on the other hand which has nearly 60 MLAs from the Telangana region has decided to wait until February for the government to table the bill in Parliament. They had said that they would all resign if the government fails to act by February

Congress will face social boycott

Prof. Kodandram- Pic by cinejosh.com
The Telangana issue is once again on the boil and this time again it is the students who are spearheading the protests at the Osmania University campus in Hyderabad. Incidents of violence have been on the rise ever since the Shri Krishna Committee report was made public by Home Minister, P Chidambaram at New Delhi on January 6th.

The road ahead for these protestors appears to be tough and the people of Telangana have pinned their hopes on the political Joint Action Committee for Telangana. Heading this JAC is Professor M Kodandaram and he has been issuing statements repeatedly that they will not settle for anything less but statehood status for Telangana. In this interview with rediff.com, Prof. Kodandram says that the road map has to be laid out, but looking at the atrocities on students being committed by the Andhra Pradesh government, we have decided to act fast and not wait until February to start our aggressive campaign for a separate state.

What are your thoughts on the Shri Krishna report on Telangana?

We have no thoughts and we have been cheated yet again. It is not as though we were expecting anything from the report and were sure that it would go against us. We had questioned the constitution of the committee especially when the union government had made it clear that the formation for the formation of a separate state had begun. There was no meaning in such a committee and we had boycotted it from day one itself.

How will the political JAC react to the violence being created by the students. There is also a media gag on covering such violence.

It is unfortunate that the students are provoked into acts of violence. All people of Telangana have believed in peaceful protests and that is what all of us had intended doing. However there appears to be a design to provoke the students. This is a democratic set up and people have every right to protest. Why should there be restrictions on such protests and why should there be a gag on the media to cover the protest. This has hindered free flow of information and this is not correct. No government can prevent the media from giving information from the public.

The police claim that they had fired rubber pellets to curb the mob. Don’t you think the police is doing its duty?

There is a youth called Ravi Kumar who sustained very serious injuries after police firing. If these were rubber pellets why was he seriously injured. Such police for is not accounted and this not legitimate in a democracy. Moreover we have information that some plan clothed police men started pelting stones to provoke the students and now they want to give a colour that it is the students who started this problem in the first place. I would also like to draw your attention towards the supreme court order which says para military forces should not be deployed around education campus’ and also that police can enter into a campus only with the prior approval of a three member committee. All these norms have been flouted.

What is the road map ahead now?

We had planned on starting an agitation from the month of February. However we do not want to wait any longer. We had planned on a complete pen down agitation where all offices, education institutions would be shut until a separate state is granted. However looking at the atrocities by the police, we think that we should not wait any longer. Our agitation originally slated for February will now commence this month itself. There is no point in waiting any more.

Could you describe for us the exact nature of what the agitation would be?

We will resort to blocking roads. All educational institutions will remain shut and all government officials of Telangana will not report to work. We have decided to adopt a non-cooperation policy and will continue to do so until our demand for a separate state is met. Enough is enough, the common man cannot be taken for granted and our children cannot be tortured any more.

Is there is a need to resort to violence?

Why do you think it is we who have resorted to violence. We are the people who have been deprived of our legitimate rights and the government cannot play around with our emotions any longer. It is like the situation we had during emergency where facts cannot come out in the open and there are gag orders. This is not democracy. The students wanted to have a peaceful demonstration. Instead the police fire on them and do not even provide proper medical facilities.

Will you try and talk to the union government on this issue?
No that question does not arise. The time for talks is over. The ball is in their court and they need to act.

The Congress MLAs and MPs have issued an ultimatum to the Union Government stating that if the bill for Telangana is not passed in the budget session, they would all quit. What are your thoughts on this?
Let us see what happens. It is not enough to sit in chambers and issue statements. They have a responsibility and they are from Telangana. If they want to move around freely and peacefully then they have to come to the streets and fight the battle. They will have to fight until the bill is passed. If they back track or do not join the agitation then trust me they will face a social boycott. I want to tell them to come to the streets and fight and not sit and issue statements alone since that will not help the movement.