Sunday, September 16, 2007

Majlis ittehadul Muslimeen on Telangana Issue

Majlis ittehadul Muslimeen on Telangana Issue - 2006/11/14 19:25 Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen Reprsentation on Telangana Issue in New delhi to the SRC Commission Explanatory Note on Telangana


At the outset, we would like to recount the historical perspective to the issue in a nutshell. In the British-ruled India, the erstwhile Hyderabad state (otherwise known as Nizam’s Dominions) was the largest and richest princely state in the country. When India became independent on August 15, 1947, Hyderabad state did not join the Indian Union as the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan wanted to remain “independent.” Following the Police Action (an euphemism for an offensive against Nizam state by the Indian Army that lasted a few days) in September 1948, the Nizam surrendered and signed the Instrument of Accession of Hyderabad into the Indian Union.
In the wake of the Police Action, certain communal elements of the majority community took advantage of the situation and perpetrated untold atrocities on Muslims in several outlying districts in Marathwada and Hyderabad-Karnatak region of erstwhile Hyderabad state. As a result, several thousand Muslim men were killed by hoodlums, their women raped or forced to commit suicide by jumping into wells to save their honour, Muslim properties were burnt and their agricultural lands were grabbed, resulting in large-scale migration from the rural area and towns in the affected districts to Hyderabad.
The integration of Hyderabad into Indian Union should have brought happiness and enthusiasm to one and all but due to certain aberrations, the Police Action induced nightmarish memories for the Muslims. However, no one can suspect the loyalties of Muslims to their motherland—India—and it is but natural that the Muslims in Hyderabad state, despite their sufferings and humiliation, became part and parcel of this great country and democracy.
After the Police Action, Hyderabad remained under military rule for a couple of years under General J N Chaudhary. In June 1950, a civilian government was formed with M K Vellodi as chief minister. In 1952, general elections were held and a popular Congress government under the chief ministership of Burugula Ramakrishna Rao was formed. The Communists took part in the general elections under the banner of People’s Democratic Front and bagged 39 seats versus 96 won by the Congress.
Here, it may be recalled that the Communists, who had launched the Telangana armed struggle against the feudal rule of the Nizam and the “Deshmukhs” in the erstwhile Hyderabad state in 1946, continued their armed insurgency against the Indian Union even after the merger of Hyderabad state into the Indian Union in 1948. In fact, they continued the armed struggle against the democratic Indian state till 1951 when they were persuaded by India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to join the mainstream.
So, as if to live down their controversial role of continuing the armed insurrection even after the accession of Hyderabad state into Indian Union, the Communists intensified their movement for “Visalandhra” (greater Andhra state) after the formation of separate Andhra state on October 1, 1953 with the carving out of the new state from the erstwhile composite Madras state. The comrades wanted the Telugu-speaking areas of Hyderabad state to be merged with Andhra state to form a greater Telugu state.
Subsequently, the Union government appointed the first States Reorganisation Commission, comprising Fazal Ali, K M Panikkar and H N Kunzru. Going into the demand for Visalandhra, the Fazal Ali Commission studied the pros and cons of (i) forming a full-fledged Telugu state (Visalandhra) by merging the Telugu-speaking areas of Hyderabad state with the Andhra state and (ii) forming a separate Telangana state comprising nine Telangana districts plus Bidar (in Hyderabad-Karnataka region).
In this backdrop, the Congress leaders from Andhra state and the Communist lobby exerted pressure on the powers-that-be to experiment with the formation of linguistic states and hence, Andhra Pradesh was formed in November 1956 as the first linguistic state with the merger of Andhra state and Telugu-speaking areas of Telangana. This meant trifurcation of the erstwhile Hyderabad state, with Telugu-speaking areas coming to Andhra Pradesh, Kannada-speaking tracts (Hyderabad-Karnataka region) merging with the then Mysore state and the Marathi-speaking region (Marathwada) being tagged onto the then Bombay state.
If the Police Action had impacted on the Muslims of erstwhile Hyderabad state by transforming them from the ruling class to the ruled overnight, the trifurcation of Hyderabad state and tagging on three distinct regions to three different states dealt another big blow to the Muslims. It was a three-way partition with some Muslim families coming under AP, some under Bombay state and some others under Mysore state. This brought about an acute sense of insecurity among the Muslim community, which found itself, divided into three political and geographical entities.
With the formation of AP, Hyderabad became the capital of the new state. Muslims heaved a sigh of relief when they were assured that their interests would be fully protected in the new state. The Gentlemen’s agreement signed in 1956 by Andhra and Telangana leaders before AP came into being, inter alia, provided for the continuance of domicile rules (Hyderabad Mulki Rules which stipulated 12 years’ stay in Telangana area to become a Mulki or a local) for recruitment to subordinate services. The Gentlemen’s Agreement, among other things, provided for earmarking 40 percent of the cabinet posts for Telangana, with atleast one Muslim from Telangana being represented in the cabinet.
The non-communal (secular) attitude of the people and leaders from Andhra region (which includes Rayalaseema) in contrast to the partisan and communally-biased attitude of leaders and people from Telangana region rekindled hopes among the Muslims in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana. However, their dreams of getting their due share of the socio-economic and political pie in the integrated AP were belied when they realized that the creation of the new state merely opened the flood-gates for the exploitation of the people of this backward region by their resourceful counterparts from Andhra region.
Saga of gross injustice and neglect:
In the last five decades since the formation of Andhra Pradesh, a strong feeling has taken roots among the people of this region, including the minorities, that gross injustice has been done to them and their region despite the assurances trotted out by the successive regimes to fully abide by the Gentlemen’s Agreement, Mulki Rules, Six-Point Formula and the Presidential Order on Public Employment etc. In fact, the successive governments have tended to aggravate the situation by actively pursuing policies and actions in clear violation of the provisions of all these agreements and orders.
The state has witnessed two violent agitations—(i) in Telangana region during 1969-71 and (ii) in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema region in 1972-73—which claimed scores of innocent lives and led to untold repression on the people by the then governments. Telangana Praja Samithi swept Lok Sabha polls in Telangana in 1971, bagging 10 seats out of 14 in the region. TPS contested the polls on the plank of separate Telangana state. Subsequently, Congress leaders in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, seeking separate Andhra state, spearheaded the Jai Andhra movement in 1972.
During both these violent agitations, the Muslims in general and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen in particular adopted a clear-cut stand against bifurcation of the state. The Muslims stood for an integrated Andhra Pradesh, much before the votaries of separate Telangana merged Telangana Praja Samithi back into the Congress and the Jai Andhra protagonists had no qualms in rejoining the Congress. It was the Muslims’ stand that was vindicated by the developments that followed both these separatist agitations.
As you are aware, a political settlement was hammered out in the wake of these separatist agitations. The Six Point Formula was evolved by the AP leaders in consultation with the Central leaders and formally announced on 21-09-1973 with the avowed objective of removing the misgivings then prevailing about the future of the (integrated) state. Necessary amendments were made to the Constitution by the Union Government through insertion of Article 371-D which, inter alia, authorized the President of India to make special provisions with respect to AP for equitable opportunities and facilities for the people belonging to different parts of the state in the matter of public employment and education.
Consequent to the Constitutional Amendment, the Presidential Order -- AP Public Employment (Organisation of Local Cadres and Regulation of Direct Recruitment) Order-- was issued on 20-10-1975. It was incorporated by the Government of AP in General Administration (SPF) Department Go Ms No 674 dated 20-10-1975. To facilitate the implementation of the Presidential Order on public employment, detailed instructions were issued in GO P No.728 (GA, SPF-A Department) dated 1-11-1975. GO Ms No 741 was issued on 7-11-1975 to regulate promotions etc.
However, a severe blow was dealt to the government employees—mostly Muslims hailing from Telangana-- during the tenure of the then Chief Minister Jalagam Vengala Rao (who incidentally hailed from Khammam district in Telangana) when he ordered the compulsory retirement of as many as 11,000 employees, taking advantage of the national emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi in June 1975.
In pursuit of Six-Point Formula, regional boards were created for the three regions—Telangana, Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. But another severe blow was administered to the government employees when, soon after Telugu Desam Party came to power following the 1983 Assembly elections, the then Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao reduced the retirement age from 58 years to 55 years. Almost 58,000 employees were affected by this draconian and ill-conceived decision. Most of the employees who were retired en masse consequent to reduction in retirement age were from Telangana region and they included several thousand Muslim employees.
The NTR regime had also abolished the Regional Development Boards for the three regions without rhyme or reason in 1983. in 1989, the Congress government headed by Dr M Channa Reddy had promised to revive the Regional Boards but nothing happened. The Telugu Desam government, during N Chandrababu Naidu’s nine-year rule, had no inclination at all to revive these Boards. All the same, the absence of the regional boards only contributed to the perpetuation of regional inequalities and exacerbation of regional grievances.
Muslims have suffered in more ways than one. Bharatiya Jana Sangh in the 1960s/70s and its successor Bharatiya Janata Party in the 1980s/90s made efforts to develop their base in Telangana, exploiting the latent communal tendencies of the people of this backward region. Thus, the city of Hyderabad and several other towns in Telangana witnessed communal riots on a small scale in the late 1960s and 1970s. The BJP’s attempts to create and consolidate its votebanks led to recurrent communal violence in the 1980s and 1990s. BJP gained in strength since 1980s due to its alliance with Telugu Desam Party (between 1984-89 during NTR’s days and between 1998-2004 during Chandrababu’s tenure as Chief Minister).
Till the early 1980s, the Muslims felt at home because their cultural and linguistic identity was being protected. But with the advent of Telugu Desam Party, a sort of cultural and linguistic invasion of Hyderabad and Telangana began with NTR’s focus on Telugu language and culture. The socio-economic deprivation of the Muslims, which began in the early 1950s, got accentuated since the 1980s with systematic exploitation of Telangana and acquisition of lands and properties here by the Andhra settlers on the one hand and pursuit of reforms by the Chandrababu Naidu regime during 1995-2004 on the other.
During the last one decade, though there has been no recurrent communal violence in Hyderabad or elsewhere in the state, the previous Telugu Desam Party government resorted to a systematic campaign to harass the Muslim community at the behest of their ally—the BJP—by implicating several youth in alleged terrorist activities and by allowing the Gujarat police to pick up a number of Muslim youth from Hyderabad for alleged offences in Ahmedabad. The end-result was that the Muslims got totally alienated from TDP and voted en-masse for the Congress and its allies in the 2004 Assembly/Parliament elections.
In this backdrop, the Muslim community in AP in general and Telangana in particular has suffered neglect and indifference as well as partisan and biased attitude and action of the previous Telugu Desam government. The community has not only faced cultural and linguistic domination but its socio-economic conditions deteriorated. Over the years, there has also been political marginalisation of the Muslims, with their representation going down in the local bodies (municipal and panchayat raj bodies) as well as in the AP Legislative Assembly and the Parliament.
Despite the growth in the number of minority professional colleges and institutions, educational backwardness persists among the Muslims. Their literacy rate continues to be lower than the state’s average. The proportion of Muslims among the below the poverty line (BPL) population is higher than the general population. Local job opportunities are restricted for the Muslims since there is no fresh recruitment to public services (except in police, education and health departments).
Due to the sense of neglect and injustice perceived by the people of Telangana over the last five decades, political leaders and organizations have found it easy to rake up the issue of separate Telangana over and over again. After the 1969-70 Telangana agitation, sporadic attempts were made by certain vested interests or jobless politicians to float organizations ostensibly fighting for the rights of Telangana people and demanding a separate Telangana state.
In recent times, the late P Indra Reddy (who had quit NTR-TDP) had floated his own outfit for Telangana before the 1998 Lok Sabha elections but his party turned out to be a non-starter. In the 1996 and 1998 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP sought to exploit the Telangana sentiment by promising to fight for a separate Telangana state. The saffron party’s slogan was “give one vote for two states” (Telangana and Andhra). In the 1999 Assembly/Lok Sabha elections, the BJP dropped its Telangana plank because of its alliance with TDP, which is opposed to separate Telangana.
In the meantime, after 1999 elections, Telugu Desam sidelined its former minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who is a one-time confidante of Chandrababu Naidu, and he was offered the post of Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly instead of a cabinet berth. KCR nursed a grievance for ignoring his claims to cabinet berth and he accepted deputy speaker’s post under protest. In April 2001, he floated the Telangana Rashtra Samithi to spearhead the demand for separate Telangana state. BJP leader A Narendra, whose claims to the post of state president of the party were ignored by the central leadership, started Telangana Sadhana Samithi. After the 2001 panchayat polls, both the parties merged and KCR and Narendra assumed the unified party’s leadership. How TRS entered into a poll alliance with Congress for 2004 Assembly/Lok Sabha elections is known to one and all.
Given this scenario, the Muslims have as much stake over the future of Andhra Pradesh as the others like the people of Telangana or the people of Andhra. The government and the ruling party at the Centre and in the State should not take any decision on the future of AP, without ascertaining the views and concerns of the Muslim community in the state. Therefore, we urge the Congress Party, as the main party in the coalition governments both at the Centre and in Andhra Pradesh, to give due weightage to the views of the Muslim community on the Telangana issue.
Neglect of Telangana and its backwardness in various sectors is a fact which no one can deny. At the same time, separate Telangana state cannot be the only solution. There can be other options too. On behalf of the Muslim community, which comprises a population of 70 lakh as per 2001 census in the state, we would like to suggest some short-term measures and long-term options on the issue of Telangana.
First and foremost, there is immediate need for revival of the regional boards for all the three regions—Telangana, Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema—to ensure that corrective steps are taken to remove regional imbalances and disparities. (1) A special package for Telangana region – with outlays of Rs 10,000 crore—is needed to accelerate the pace of development in various sectors in this backward region. (2) As the minorities—particularly Muslims—are the most affected lot, a special package for their socio-economic and educational upliftment is also required and (3) G.O. 610 should be immediately implemented.
To decide on the future of Andhra Pradesh with reference to the demand for separate Telangana state, we feel that this issue requires proper and indepth study in the larger perspective. Hence, we demand that a Second States Reorganisation Commission should be constituted to go into all the aspects of the issue, including the demand for separate Telangana state and the future of Hyderabad as a union territory in the event of formation of Telangana state.
Apart from a large concentration of Muslims, the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad and the adjoining 10 municipalities and the Secunderabad cantonment have a sizeable population of people from the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions as well as from the neighbouring states and other parts of India. All these sections entertain apprehensions about their future if separate Telangana state is formed with Hyderabad as its state capital. Their concerns need to be looked into.
We eagerly wait for the opportunity to be heard to make known our detailed views on Telangana issue if and when the need arises thanking you ,



Post edited by: zeeshan, at: 2007/01/07 20:47

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