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Free Telangana from Andhra colonisers డిసెంబర్ 24, 2008

Posted by Telangana Utsav in Culture, Economy, politics, Telangana.

Demand for Telangana justified

D Rama Krishna Reddy

In the last week of October the core group of the UPA government met in New Delhi to find a solution to the demand for a separate state of Telangana and to consider its implications for the general elections in 2009. The issue has assumed importance once again.

The demand for a separate Telangana state has a long history. Though the rest of India got independence from the British at midnight of 15 August 1947, the people of Telangana continued to be under the Nizam’s rule till the princely state of Hyderabad was liberated on 17 September 1948. Thereafter, Hyderabad was put under the administrative control of the central government for about three and a half years. In the first general elections, the Congress came to power in Hyderabad and Boorgula Ramakrishna Rao became chief minister. Even though the States Reorganisation Commission recommended a separate state, Telangana was merged with Andhra Pradesh in November 1956.

In the past 52 years, only three persons from the Telangana region ~ PV Narasimha Rao, M Chenna Reddy and T Anjaiah ~ have become chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. Their combined tenure was only around six years. Although Chenna Reddy brought the Congress to power in the state twice ~ in 1978 and 1982 ~ he was not allowed to complete his tenure on either occasion at the instance of Andhra leaders. This gave credence to the feeling that people from Telangana could not become chief minister of the state because of a conflict of interests and the brute majority of Andhra MLAs.

When Telangana was merged with Andhra Pradesh, the leaders of both the provinces entered into an agreement, popularly known as “the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1956”, which provided for certain safeguards and guarantees to the people of Telangana in the matters of employment, education and development. But this was subsequently given up. In its place, an eight-point formula was adopted in 1969, which was replaced by a six-point formula in 1972. Through the six-point formula, Article 371D was inserted into the Constitution by the 32nd constitutional amendment of 1973 providing some safeguards to the people of Telangana in the matter of employment and education, which was also violated with impunity.

This apart, there is no emotional integration between the people of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh even after five decades of the formation of the new state. While the people of Telangana still consider Andhra people exploiters, the former consider the people of Telangana to be ignorant and gullible.

There is a feeling that the Telangana region was “colonised” by Andhra settlers and the people of Telangana were marginalised in almost all parties. This was glaring during the tenure of Mr N Chandrababu Naidu, when party tickets were given to Andhra settlers in the Telangana region. The Congress is no exception in this regard.

The region has also been deprived. Though two major rivers of the state ~ the Krishna and Godavari ~ pass through Telangana, the people of the region have not been given their due share of water; and though coal deposits are in Telangana, thermal power stations are set up in coastal Andhra. That is why discontent simmers. Before the police action in 1948, the people of Telangana fought against the autocratic rule of Nizam. After liberation, they fought against violation of the mulki rules and Vishalandhra from 1952 to 1956. Thereafter, they led an agitation for a separate state of Telangana in 1969. In the 1971 general election, the people of Telangana gave a clear mandate in favour of a sub-regional outfit, Telangana Praja Samithi for espousing the cause of Telangana and elected 10 of its members to Parliament. This party was merged with the Congress in lieu of assurances given by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In the latest phase, the people of Telangana have been agitating for a separate state since 1996. In the 2004 general election, a new alliance of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Congress won 95 of 107 assembly seats and 15 of 16 Lok Sabha seats in the region.

The argument of Andhra leaders, that a separate state of Telangana is not viable, does not hold water. The region has an area of 11.48 lakh sq km with vast natural resources such as water, forests, mines and minerals and a population of more than 3.5 crores. It is bigger than 14 states in terms of area and population. It is high time the Centre and all political parties find a permanent solution to the problem before it turns into a law and order issue, if not a tinderbox like the Bodo-like agitation.

(The writer is an advocate practicing at the Supreme Court)

Source: The Statesman http://www.thestatesman.net/page.arcview.php?clid=4&id=261079&usrsess=1


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