'All promises on Telangana have been broken'
Andhra Pradesh continues to be a hotbed of activity following the release of Srikrishna Commission report on Telangana on Thursday.
As students and activists continue to protest against the report in every district of Hyderabad, a new road map is being laid out by those involved in this agitation on how to take the movement forward.
Professor Kothapalli Jayashankar -- considered to be the idealogue of the movement since the year 1952 -- feels that the Srikrishna report is evasive.
In this interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Professor Jayashankar speaks about the report, the future of the movement while terming the commission's formula as most unacceptable.
What are your thoughts on the report?
Do you see anything new in it? I don't. Prima facie, it is just a submission of all the statements made by various people from across the region. There is nothing conclusive. It is evasive in nature and, on the whole, the formula laid down in it is most unacceptable. At the end of it when one reads the report as a whole, it says that we should maintain status quo. That is not what the agitation is about and that is not what the people want.
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Image: Protestors after the report was released on Thursday
'The commission appears to have succumbed to industrialists'
The report appears to have given a lot of suggestions and the Union home ministry says that it should be read with an 'open mind' and the possibilities discussed. Why are you shooting it down without a discussion?
There are problems in the Telangana areas and no one can deny that. The report too speaks about it. Our fight has always been for a separate statehood and the earlier position of nearly 60 years back should be restored. So why should we be open to the other suggestions?
The committee said that it has tried its best to satisfy all people and the government should consider it and act upon the report. Don't you want to give them the benefit of the doubt?
No. The commission has indiscriminately gone into several issues, which were not required. They appear to have succumbed to industrialists and money bags, and hence we question the very credibility of the commission as well as the report.
Image: Lawyers protest against the report in Hyderabad
'We cannot give the government any more time'
What about the government of India?
No one is giving them a clean chit in this issue. The statement last year by Home Minister P Chidambaram where he said that the process to form the state had begun should be acted upon. Our understanding of that statement was that the process to form the state has begun and the government had conceded that the state should be formed. So why have they backtracked now. The fight will continue unabated until the government of India lives up to its promise.
You cannot possibly hurry up matters. There is also the rest of Andhra Pradesh, which feels strongly that the state should remain united. Can't you give the government some more time?
How much more time? This struggle is on since the past 50 years. How many agreements, how many more discussions should we have on this? They have not even honoured court rulings, which speak in favour of a separate state.
Many promises have been made and all broken. We cannot give the government any more time. Nearly six decades have passed and three generations have fought for a separate state and sadly we continue to do the same today.
Image: A bus is set alight by students of Osmania University
'Hyderabad has been made the bone of contention by vested intrests'
How do you find the movement today? Is that passion still there or has it died down?
The movement to be honest is stronger than before; today it has got a direction, it is more vibrant and the commitment of the people of Telangana towards this struggle is much stronger. The government of India and also the state government know this. Why else did the Union government make a commitment publicly last year? This was an indication that they had agreed with the cause of the people.
Hyderabad actually is the big bone of contention here. The rest of Telangana is just incidental, people say. Do you agree?
Hyderabad has been made the bone of contention here. There are some money bags and industrialists who fear that they may lose their wealth if Telangana is formed with Hyderabad as its capital. This is their illusion.
Image: Students protest at Osmania University
'A common capital will only benefit some money bags'
Are you acceptable to the formula that Hyderabad be made a common capital or a Union Territory?
No we are not. Again, let me explain that this is not a feasible option at all. Hyderabad used to be the capital of Telangana and it should remain that way. Moreover, is the government thinking of this as an option just to please industrialists?
What about the common man of Rayalaseema? Do you want to him to travel 400 km to come to the capital? Why is the government not thinking about the common man? It is not feasible. A common capital will only benefit some money bags.
What about the industrialists from the rest of Andhra Pradesh who have business interests in Hyderabad? What will be their status if Telangana is formed?
They have nothing to worry. There are Gujaratis and people from across India, who have set up their businesses here. We are not telling them to go. The same rule would apply to the other people of Andhra too. Why are they making such an issue of it?
Image: Protest in front of the historic Charminar in Hyderabad
'Violence erupts because of govt provocation'
So what is next on the agenda?
We do not accept the report. Moreover, the commission also says that the government of India should act on this as the ball lies in their court. We will wait for the government to act and until then keep our protest alive.
Think of the common man and all that he has to undergo due to violence. What about that aspect?
Violence erupts not because the people of Telangana resort to it. It erupts because of the provocation by the government. There is an evil design to provoke the students so that this movement is dubbed bloody and violent. The police keep instigating our children here and that is the root cause of the problem.
Image: A student injured in police action at Osmania University
'Congress and TDP need to take a stand or they will be wiped out'
How do you view the stands taken by the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party on this issue?
The fact is that these two parties cannot take a stand, as there is plenty at stake for them. The TDP, in particular, has a harder path ahead. If they fail to act now on this issue then, trust me, they will be wiped out completely. Each one of their MLAs will lose deposit if they continue to dilly-dally. Looking at the manner in which they are going about this it appears to me that they are committing suicide.
Both the Congress and the TDP need to make a decision quick. Do they want to give in to the demand of the people or succumb to the pressure of money bags? However, I do not see them playing the fool on this issue and if not out of understanding at least out of compulsion they will have to give in to the people of Telangana.
What about the Telangana Rashtra Samiti?
The TRS is very clear since day one and it continues to stand by the demand for a separate statehood.
Image: TRS chief K C Rao and Gaddar at a protest rally