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Eight months after it last flared up, the issue rearranges the political chessboard
The Telangana agitation is stirring again. Pro-Telangana parties and groups are preparing for the Telangana March on September 30, when more than one lakh people are supposed to join rallies in Hyderabad and lay siege to the state secretariat. A similar event last year resulted in mindless violence; protestors desecrated and vandalised the statues of cultural icons on Necklace Road. After a series of general strikes, with even government employees hailing from Telangana refusing to work for 45 days, the Telangana statehood issue was put on the backburner as the Centre refused to budge.
Now, after eight months of peace, renewed investor confidence, and real estate picking up, the Telangana issue is coming into play again. Sonia Gandhi held talks with senior leaders on Monday to discuss an all-party meeting on Telangana, but nothing was decided and the issue continues to simmer and gather momentum.
In the run-up to the Telangana March, students of Osmania University and the police clashed on campus this Monday, after they were refused permission to lead a procession to the state assembly, which was in session. This time, Telangana leaders say, it will be a fight to the finish. The resolve is reflected in a letter written to Sonia Gandhi by 13 cabinet ministers from Telangana. They have requested her to announce the separate state of Telangana immediately, before the situation goes out of control. Congress ministers have so far shied away from direct involvement.
To attract international attention, the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), which has been steering the protests, has warned that it will disrupt the international bio-diversity meet in Hyderabad, scheduled to begin on October 1, in which delegates from 180 countries are expected to participate.
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