It seems like that the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has a long battle ahead once the formation of Telangana is complete. Its leadership feels that it would be restricted only to Hyderabad once the state is formed.
Lateef Mohammed Khan, convenor, Muslim Forum for Telangana, speaks with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa about the mindset of the Muslims in the Telangana region and also explains why the MIM is worried about the formation or a de-merger of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.
Over to him:
"First and foremost, I would like to say that the announcement likely to be made by the Congress endorsing the formation of Telangana is in the right direction. It gives us all a ray of hope and compliments the six-decade-long struggle.
However, none of us want to raise our hopes too much, as it is not yet time to trust the Congress which has been known to backtrack on its promises. People involved in the movement still do not trust the party, and feel that only once the bill is passed in Parliament should the celebrations begin.
We still feel that the ruling class from Seema-Andhra would do everything possible to stall the bill in Parliament. The Congress needs to work on this issue sincerely. The MIM is really confused today. It has never ever been clear about its stand and has always sat on the fence. Everyone associated with the party feels that their leadership is under great threat once Telangana is formed.
The two other emerging Muslims parties -- the Welfare Party of India and the Social Democratic Party of India -- have put up a better show compared with the MIM in the Telangana local body elections, and this has the MIM worried. It has realised that it does not have a cadre in the rural areas of Telangana and their strength would be restricted to the old city of Hyderabad alone.
The other worry is about their diminishing popularity in the city. The move by Akbaruddin Owaisi to make that controversial speech has in fact, proved to be counter-productive for the party. Not that he has not given speeches like that before. He has delivered even worse speeches in Hyderabad, but was never reported by the media.
Speaking for the Muslims in Telangana, what I understand is that they were not at all happy with this speech. The Muslims in Telangana have a sentiment regarding their region and it was no time for communal feelings. Many are of the view that such a speech has done more damage to them. They feel that he ought not to have tried dividing the Muslims on a communal line, but should have spoken in favour of the sentiments of the people of Telangana, be it Muslims or Hindus.
The reaction to Owaisi’s hate speech in the city of the Hyderabad too, has not found much favour. The educated class feels that such speeches do not address the welfare of the Muslims. Instead, the Muslims feel that he should have been part of the formation of Telangana and asked for better facilities for Muslims and more Urdu representation in Muslim-dominated belts of Telangana.
Today, there is an issue regarding the formation of Rayal-Telangana. You should know that this was a suggestion first made by the MIM. They felt that their base was diminishing in Telangana, and if the state was formed it would become worse for them.
They felt that the inclusion of the two districts from Rayalseema, which has a good number of Muslims would help them. However, a very poor turnout for an Owaisi programme in Rayalseema made them backtrack on this issue too.
Image: MIM Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi with supporters. (inset) Lateef Mohammed Khan