'Who is interested in the analysis of the situation?'
The Muslims in Telangana feel that the formation of Telangana is the best possible solution for them. A cross section of Muslims across Hyderabad say that they have got nothing but atrocities from the existing set up. The only solution is the formation of the state.
Lateef Mohammad Khan, the convenor for the Muslim Forum for Telangana, says that the Srikrishna committee report on Telangana has been disappointing. In this interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, he sums up his views on the report saying, 'Khoda pahaad nikla chuha, woh bhi mara hua (Dug up a mountain to find a rat, that too a dead rat)
Did you expect the report to speak on predictable lines?
The report, which came out, was shocking. None of us even expected that the commission would give out a report, which refuses to take any kind of stand. We were looking for a solution and all we got was options. Who is interested in the analysis of the situation?
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'We will have a bigger role to play in the affairs of the state'
This is a democratic demand. Instead of solving the problem, this committee has tried to dissolve it and make it a more complicated. This committee has betrayed our hopes and aspirations. Due to this report the sentiments of Telangana people have been hurt to a large extent. The people of Telangana are suffering since 1956 and their rights have been always violated and they are continuously struggling for justice.
On every occasion, the people of Telangana have been cheated in the name of agreements, packages, and commissions. However, these have been never implemented.
What is the strength of the Muslims in Telangana?
The Muslims form nearly 20 per cent of the population. This is not some ordinary strength. Once the state is formed we will be taken very seriously.
What benefits will Muslims have once Telangana is formed?
The biggest benefit is the political share that Muslims will have once the state is formed. We will have a bigger role to play in the affairs of the state. This is something that the Muslims have been deprived of all these years. The fact is that once Telangana is formed no government can be formed without the support of the Muslims.
'Every homeless Muslim will get a house to live in'
Is that all you are looking for? A political share
No, that is not all. Urdu is the second language in this region officially, but the same has never been implemented.
Once Telangana is formed Urdu will become the official second language. In addition to this there is a very strong Muslim culture in this region and that is being finished off. Once the state is formed there will be proper recognition of our culture.
Also the Waqf board land, which has been taken away by greedy industrialists, will be returned once the state is formed. None of us have a major interest in this land; it is just that every homeless Muslim will get a house to live in.
Are all Muslims united in their stand for Telangana?
Yes they are now. Earlier they were not, but now they have understood that it is the need of the hour.
What about the Majlis Ittehadul-e-Muslimeen?
Their stand is neutral, but I am sure that they are in favour of the movement. They need to understand the growing demand for a separate state in the district levels and I am sure that they will take care of their concerns as well.
'Parties have been more of a hindrance than of any help'
They have also understood that all Muslims want Telangana and they will not do anything to anger them. In addition to this, we are happy that the MIM is very particular that if Telangana is formed Hyderabad should be the capital.
There is a difference of opinion between the students and the politicians on this issue. What is your thinking about this?
Yes, there is one at the moment. The students are an emotional lot and feel very strongly for this movement. They are the ones who have been fighting for the cause and laying down their lives. They feel that the politicians are only looking for political gains and to an extent that is very true.
Political parties have been more of a hindrance than of any help to the movement since most of them are furthering their political campaign through this movement. Moreover, no politician stands in front of the police and fights for the movement. This has angered the students no end.
'We want people's Telangana not of a Reddy or Rao'
Who will your forum support? The students or the politicians?
The students, of course, as we feel that they are more serious about the movement.
But then you are part of all the political Joint Action Committee meetings...
Yes, that is correct. We need to be there to remind the politicians to keep the fire alive, as the issue has not been solved as yet. We also need to ensure that politicians do not restrict themselves to their chambers and issue statements.
What role will your forum play now?
The forum was first formed to bring all Muslims united to fight for this movement. That part of the job is now over. Our next role will be when the state is formed. We will need to ensure that all legitimate rights of the Muslims are given.
Do you see the state being formed?
Yes, of course and there is no doubt about that. It will be done in a year's time for sure. We are confident about that.
Is Telangana a solution for all atrocities against Muslims?
We cannot link these two. But yes we will have a voice. We want a Telangana of the people and not a Telangana of a Reddy or a Rao.