OTHERS

Formation Day marked by protests of pro-Telangana groups

HYDERABAD, NOV. 1. The AP Formation Day on Wednesday was marked by black flag protests at the Gun Park near the Assembly by a large number of pro-Telangana groups espousing the cause of a separate State.

At least a dozen Telangana outfits could be counted at the Gun Park each with a separate banner but with the common motto of achieving a separate State of Telangana. Their leaders shouted slogans against the injustice done to the region, posed for news pictures under the Telangana martyrs' memorial before making way for the next group.

If the State Formation Day celebrations on Tank Bund were a picture of the State's cultural diversity, the event at Gun Park was colourful and varied with blue, saffron, white and black flags vying with each other for a vantage point.

The Congress MLAs from Telangana, sporting black badges, were greeted with slogans by activists of the Telangana Praja Samithi (TPS). The slogans of `Jai Telangana' by the former were countered by the TPS followers who wanted the MLAs to quit the Congress. They said separate Telangana could never be achieved under the leadership of the Congress as it had betrayed the movement earlier.

Putting up an unimpressive show, only six out of the 40 Congress MLAs from Telangana turned up. They were Messrs A. Indra Karan Reddy, P. Shankar Rao, P. Govardhan Reddy, Md. Fareeduddin, A. Vittal Reddy and P. Kishta Reddy besides former MLA, M. Kodanda Reddy.

Referring to the motley group, the TPS general secretary, Mr. Pratap Kishore, said the existence of so many organisations would fragment the leadership and dilute the cause of Telangana. He said India could not fight the British rule as effectively as it should have because of disunity.

Mr. Kaloji Narayan Rao, octogenarian freedom fighter and poet, said the Telangana outfits should cooperate with one another. But, if they could not, they should avoid interfering with each other's work. He said the official celebrations on Tank Bund represented the exploiters and those at Gun Park the victims of exploitation. He said that people belonging to only three upper castes and those hailing from three districts had prospered since Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1956.

The Congress MLAs welcomed the reported decision of their party high command favouring the constitution of a second States Reorganisation Commission (SRC). They expressed confidence that the 140-strong Congress members of the Lok Sabha would wholeheartedly back any move by the NDA Government to carve out a separate Telangana.

Mr. Indra Karan Reddy said the people of the region had been suppressed and oppressed ever since AP State was formed. They had been denied their due share of progress in the fields of irrigation, power, education and employment. Therefore, a separate State was the only solution to redress this imbalance.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi leaders, sporting pink scarves, waited for their president, Mr. K. Chandrasekhar Rao, until they were informed that he had left for Siddipet. Another new outfit, the Telangana Sadhana Samithi, led by Mr. A. Narendra, MP, resolved to hold a separate show of strength by organising a procession to the Gun Park in the afternoon.

However, other organisations like the Telangana Aikya Vedika, Praja Party, Sangharshana Samithi, Coordination Committee, Employees Joint Action Committee, the Students Forum and the Janata Dal (U) made their presence felt either by waving black flags or making speeches.

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