Judicial Employees Association leader Rama Koteswara Rao says Andhra Pradesh cannot be divided without abrogating Article 371D

The Rule 3 of Service Conduct Rules will not apply on the striking APNGOs, as all the employees who have joined the Samaikyandhra agitation have given prior notice to the authorities concerned, and hence they need worry and go ahead with the agitation fearlessly, said the AP Judicial Employee Association (Krishna Unit) president Arjampudi Rama Koteswara Rao, here on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference, he pointed out that the AP High Court has asked the APNGOs to file a written argument by Friday and we were supporting them with all necessary legal help. “They need not worry, as they do not attract the Rule 3 and more importantly they have taken up the agitation for a just cause- to see that State is not bifurcated. To protest against any injustice was our fundamental right,” he said.

He pointed out that the agitation has been non-violent and peaceful so far, compared to the one that was taken up by the Telangana NGOs (TNGO). Giving details, he said, “Over 1,600 cases were booked against 8,000 TNGOs during the Telangana agitation, but so far not a single case was booked against any member of the APNGO with regard to violence or damage to public or private property.”

Countering the High Court’s suggestion that the strike can be taken up later, as the bifurcation issued was only announced by the Congress Working Committee and not by Parliament or government, Mr. Rama Koteswara Rao said, “It is true that the decision was taken only by the CWC, but it was announced by the Home Minister of the country and supported by the Prime Minister.”

He further pointed out that as per Article 3 of the Indian Constitution, a State cannot be divided without the consent of the State Assembly, wherein a majority should agree to it. “The Congress party appears to bulldoze this aspect. And it was surprising for a leader like Digvijay Singh say that consent of the Assembly was not important.”

Giving an issue a legal tangle, Mr. Rama Koteswara Rao further stated that Andhra Pradesh cannot be divided without winding up Article 371 D, which was in force since 1953. “First wind up Article 371 D and then talk of bifurcation,” he asserted.

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