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‘We are ready to sacrifice our lives’
Stating that they were cheated by the governments, the 13 victims under the banner of Polepally SEZ Vyathireka Ikya Sanghatana said they were contesting the Jadcherla bypolls on May 29 to send across a strong message to the powers-that-be that they were ready to sacrifice their lives to get back their lands taken away by the officials in the name of SEZ.
Kanduri Kurmaiah, one of the contestants and whose land was taken away for the SEZ, told newsmen here on Tuesday that his six acres of land was usurped by the government which later sold it to a pharma company for a fortune. “I was paid a paltry Rs 18,000 per acre. When we raised the issue, our voices were muzzled, threatened and false cases foisted against us,” he said.
“It is in this backdrop that we have decided to contest the polls,” he said and urged the voters to teach a lesson to the parties and governments which make business by selling farmers’ lands. Demanding that the government give back the lands to the poor farmers, Kurmaiah said the atrocities against the villagers must stop and the SEZ project should be scrapped.
Convenor of the sanghatana Kagula Madhu assailed the government for acquiring around 1,000 acres of fertile land belonging to dalits, tribals and BC farmers in the name of developing a mega green park. “Later, the project was converted into a pharma SEZ. The government, especially APIIC, is acting like a real estate broker for big companies by usurping lands from poor farmers at cheap rates and selling them to big business houses,” he said.
Joining the issue, Useni Satyamma, a contestant in the bypoll, said the officials took away her eight acres of land. “The SEZ Act has proved a deathknell for many of us and our lives have been destroyed,” she regretted.
Urging the people to put an end to this daylight robbery of poor farmers, the SEZ victims said they should exercise their conscience vote by rejecting the parties which have vested interests
source: Times of India, 28 May 2008
Wednesday May 28 2008 10:00 ISTExpress News Service
Kanduri Kurmaiah, an SEZ affected farmer, addressing a press conference demanding withdrawal of SEZ Act in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
HYDERABAD: Thirteen independent candidates from Jadcheral Assembly seat, who entered the fray to register their protest against Polepally Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Mahaboobnagar district, said they would contest in the next general elections too if the State Government failed to address their problem.
Alleging that the police and leaders of other political parties were trying to intimidate them, the independent candidates, who lost their lands and livelihood in the SEZ urged the Election Commission to come to their rescue. (మరింత…)
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Polepally: The Special Election Zone
It’s a simple strategy of protest with no pretensions of winning. The aim of the Polepally protesters: “That we get our land back, our lives back. Our one and only demand.”
COMMON APPEAL: “Voting for the Jadcherla 13 means saluting with love our Mother Earth.”
There are as many as 13 of them contesting the same Jadcherla Assembly seat as independents. Only, they’re not contesting against, but for, each other. Their symbols range from a Whistle and a Gas Cylinder to Bangles and a bunch of Bananas. Though pitted against one another, they have a common manifesto and even campaign jointly. These dalit, adivasi and BC farmers are the most fascinating candidates in the bypolls now on in Telangana to four Lok Sabha and 17 Assembly seats.
All the ‘Jadcherla 13’ have lost their lands to the Polepally Pharma Special Economic Zone and other projects in Mahbubnagar district. And they now contest the polls to draw attention to their loss. Even while a few work as construction labourers on their own land, raising the very SEZ buildings that will seal their destitution.
“Over 41 people have died since the land acquisition process began in 2003,” says an angry Muravat Chandi. She’s a Lambada in the Gundlagadda ‘Tanda’ (adivasi colony) here. “That includes three close relatives of mine. Cut off from their land, people are losing their will to live. My family has lost 27 acres to this SEZ. It’s why I’m contesting.”
Seated besides Chandi are young Seenu and Lakshman, sons of Balu one of those who died three months ago. “Having lost all our land to the SEZ, we had no place to conduct his last rites,” says Seenu. “So we bought a tiny plot, just a few square feet, for Rs. 5,000. There we cremated him.” This, says a neighbour, “was a man who once owned several acres of land in his life. But not an inch to receive him in death.”
The story of the mounting toll first appeared in Eenadu, the State’s giant newspaper. “We confirmed 25 of those deaths” says M.L. Narasimha Reddy, the reporter who broke the story. Officials dismissed these as “due to natural causes.” But the adivasis say their demise was hastened by trauma and demoralisation. After a struggle during which the Lambadas refused to perform the last rites of their dead, the government assigned them six acres. Four for the tanda to live on and two for a burial ground.
“They’re killing us — and they kindly give us a graveyard,” says Dharmia, Chandi’s neighbour, with dark humour. “It’s the only place we can go to. No one in this tanda of 80 households has a job outside of farming.”
350 families displaced
Chandi and 12 more from other groups are independents “as both major political parties backed this SEZ.” In 2003, the then Telugu Desam government notified a ‘Green Park’ and began acquiring 969 acres of land. Much of these belonged to the dalits and Lambadas. Including government assigned lands given to them earlier to better their lives. “We were first told there was to be a Leather Park,” says Etti Linagaih (candidate symbol: Gas Cylinder) in Polepally village. “Then came the Green Park idea. And now the SEZ. They take our land first and make their plans later.” In 2005 the new Congress government enforced the plans. In all, the SEZ and other projects have displaced some 350 families. (మరింత…)
Anti- SEZ Polepalli struggle gains support మే 25, 2008Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in elections, Mahabubnagar, politics, Telangana People.
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Make stand clear on SEZs: Virasam to TRS
Saturday May 24 2008 10:51 IST
Express News Service
HYDERABAD: Revolutionary Writers Association (Virasam) on Friday demanded that TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao announce his stand on special economic zones (SEZ), which are destroying agriculture sector in the State.Addressing a press conference here, Virasam leaders P Vara Vara Rao, Geetanjali and Uma said that as many as 41 farmers and their family members who lost their lands in SEZ near Jadcherla died unnatural death during the last few months.
A fact-finding team visited Polepally village of Jadcherla mandal, which was badly affected in the SEZ.
“Political parties like Congress, BJP, TDP and CPM came out openly on their stand on SEZs after the new economic and liberalisation policies were introduced in the country,” Vara Vara Rao said.
“The TRS which enjoyed power for two-and-half years did not announce its stand on SEZs. Telangana movement began after the previous TDP regime turned the region a laboratory for imperialistic policies,” the Virasam leader said while seeking to know why the TRS is silent on the Jadcherla SEZ issue. (మరింత…)
Doyen of Telangana Armed Struggle
A dynamic leader, B.N. Reddy was a terror for Razaakars
End of an era: Virasam leader P. Varavara Rao paying homage to veteran Communist leader Bheemireddy Narsimha Reddy who passed away at his residence in Hyderabad on Friday. — PHOTO: K. RAMESH BABU
NALGONDA: Though born into a feudal family, Bheemireddy Narasimha Reddy (B.N. Reddy) had rebelled against the same feudal set up and liberated lakhs of acres of land from the clutches of the landlords.
He always sided with the poor and fought for the emancipation of the downtrodden from suppression and exploitation.
“What gives ultimate satisfaction to any leader is the selfless services he renders for the hapless poor and the courage of convictions that he exhibits in reaching his goal,” the stalwart leader told a group of young historians, who made a documentary on his life a couple of years ago.
“We lost the backbone of the Telangana Peasants’ Armed Struggle. He was very much influenced by another top class communist leader Puchhalapalli Sundaraiah. B.N.Reddy killed hundreds of Razaakars on his own during the movement,” one of the members of the team Surya Kumar told The Hindu on Friday.
Thanks to the keen interest shown by B.N.Reddy’s son Prabhakar Reddy, the team made the detailed documentary on the colossal contribution of the stalwart leader.
B N Reddy
“He was a very dynamic leader and he used to tell many of his revolutionary activities. We lost a wonderful warrior,” the secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Nandhyala Narasimha Reddy said.
The party leaders mourned his death at the party district headquarters. Since he was expelled from the party under controversial circumstances, the CPI (M) didn’t take up any public activity to mark his demise. (మరింత…)
Tags: elections, politics
Politics of separation
Amarnath K. Menon
For the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) it is virtually a referendum on carving a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh. With by-elections to 18 Assembly constituencies and four Lok Sabha seats scheduled for May 29, retaining all the seats is a Herculean task for the party.
TRS legislators resigned en masse recently to protest the UPA Government’s failure to award separate statehood to Telangana, vacating 16 Assembly and four Lok Sabha seats.
Having decided to field all of them again, TRS can only hope that the Telangana sentiment in favour of a separate state will muster enough votes. The ruling Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are poised to retain the other two constituencies, in which the death of party incumbents has forced by-elections.
TRS supremo K. Chandrasekhara Rao, however, is upbeat. “Rivals will forfeit their deposits. The people of the region have been betrayed and know that their future will be bright only in a separate Telangana state,” says Rao, who is travelling extensively through all the 42 constituencies in the hope of scoring a victory.
But the gimmicks he’s resorting to—having a bath in the open in a village, making tea at a wayside stall and staying in a tribal hamlet on the eve of Ugadi, the Telugu new year’s day, with a camera trained on him throughout—give him away.
TRS is on slippery ground, as anti-incumbency is likely to hurt the party’s prospects badly in six to eight of the 16 constituencies that it is trying to retain.
For the Congress and Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, it is a question of prestige. Reddy, who cannot afford to let the Telangana sentiment override his slogan of development, launched the Rs 2-a-kilo rice scheme on April 9, ahead of the announcement of the poll schedule. (మరింత…)
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B Muralidhar Reddy- A Success Story
నా అడ్రస్ … కేరాఫ్ లైబ్రరీ
ఏ పాత్రికేయుడికైనా విదేశాల్లో పనిచేయడమన్నది ఓ సవాలు. అందులోనూ నిత్యం సంక్షోభాలతో సతమతమయ్యే శ్రీలంక, పాకిస్థాన్ లాంటి దేశాల్లో సమాచార సేకరణ కత్తిమీద సాము. ‘ది హిందూ’ ప్రతినిధిగా దాదాపు ఆరేళ్లు పాకిస్థాన్లో పని చేసి, రెండేళ్లుగా శ్రీలంకలో ‘బాధ్యతలు నిర్వర్తిస్తున్న బైరెడ్డి మురళీధర్రెడ్డి పెద్ద స్కూళ్లలో చదువుకోలేదు. ఫస్టుక్లాసులు తెచ్చుకోలేదు. వారసత్వంగా అబ్బిన విద్యా అంటే … అదీ కాదు! చమట సిరాతో రాసుకున్న సక్సెస్ స్టోరీ ఆయనది. ఆ కథలోని మలుపులన్నీ ఆయన మాటల్లోనే …
– బైరెడ్డి మురళీధర్రెడ్డి, ‘ది హిందు’ శ్రీలంక ప్రతినిధి
‘మీకు పాకిస్థాన్లో పనిచేయడానికి ఏమైనా అభ్యంతరమా?’ …. అని ఒకరోజు మా ఎగ్జిక్యూటివ్ ఎడిటర్ మాలినీ పార్థసారథి ఫోన్లో అడిగిన పుడు కలా నిజమా అన్నంత అపనమ్మకం. పాకిస్థాన్లాంటి దేశంలో పనిచేయడం ఏ పాత్రికేయుడి జీవితంలో అయినా ఓ మలుపే. అది నా విషయంలో ఇంత తొందరగా నిజమవుతుందని నేనెప్పుడూ ఊహించలేదు. (మరింత…)
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Do Elections Foster Separatism? The Case of Telangana
By Dean E. McHenry, Jr.
Excerpts from Dean McHenry’s paper
The purpose of this paper is to seek an answer to the question posed in its title, i.e., “Do elections foster separatism?”
Most observers of the two key elections held in Andhra Pradesh in the last few years, the Lok Sabha/ Vidhan Sabha elections of 2004 and the Karimnagar By-election of 2006, have answered a qualified “Yes” for the first and an unqualified “Yes” for the second. The grounds for such a conclusion are to be found in the success of the Telangana Rasthra Samiti (TRS), a political party whose overriding objective is the creation of the state of Telangana. Both elections provided settings at which the separatist cry might be easily voiced. The 2004 elections brought 26 of its members into the Legislative Assembly and 6 into the Lok Sabha. The 2006 by-election brought the leader of the TRS, K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), an overwhelming victory and an admission by leaders of all parties that there had been a great upsurge of “Telangana sentiment” during the election. Thus, the prima facie evidence derived from these cases supports the conclusion that elections foster separatism.
Yet, a closer examination suggests that there are numerous factors upon which any answer to the question is contingent. The reality is that elections may, or may not, foster separatism. The real task is to uncover the array of factors that determine the degree to which elections are supportive or not. (page 2)
The contention that elections always foster separatism is not borne out by this study. They may have a significant positive impact, as in the Karimnagar Lok Sabha by-election in 2006; a moderate positive impact, as in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections in 2004; or, a negative impact, as in the 2005 municipal elections and the 2006 panchayati raj elections. The role of elections in fostering or undermining separatist movement is contingent upon such a wide range of factors that they appear to constitute relatively unique clusters in each case.
Among the factors that constitute the clusters are the degree to which political parties can be lured to believe that the separatist area is a valuable vote bank and support for separation is necessary to tap it; whether a party holds the balance of power at the center and/or in the state; the strength of pro-separatist factions within existing political parties; the strength of party loyalty relative to the strength of the aspiration for separation; the degree to which inhabitants of the separatist area support separation; the significance of a separatist area to the rest of the state; whether the election is a local election or one that links the area to the rest of the state or the center; the ability of non-separatist parties to “buy off” separatist leaders; the ability of separatist leaders to incite followers; the divisiveness of internal struggles in other parties … the list might go on and on.
Elections are like stages on which many different plays may take place. They are not the keys to what is performed-that is in the hands of many others each with a variety of concerns.
Finally, whether the audience consists of members of the Lok Sabha and how they react to the play is difficult to predict. Obtaining a majority vote in the Lok Sabha may have little to do with the uniformity and intensity of the demand for separatism reflected in an election in a particular part of the country. The party alignment, commitment of top leaders of parties, the impact on the stability of the coalition, and a myriad of other factors will condition a vote on whether or not a new state is to be created. (page 26 – 27) (మరింత…)