It is clear that introduction of Srikrishna Committee is a step backwards for Telangana from Dec 9th statement. Srikrishna Committee is NOT formed to bring in Telangana. Instead, it is formed to “study” if Telangana is indeed “underdeveloped”, and if so, how and where. There is no clear indication if the recommendations from this committee will be binding upon the government. There is no indication if this committee is going to give one clear solution to the current problem or propose a set of measures like Times of India does – present both ‘view’ and ‘counterview’.
What should Telanganas do now?
We should embrace Srikrishna Committee for what it is – a study of Telangana, to understand how it is underdeveloped, where it is underdeveloped. We should cooperate and extend our support to this committee by supplying various papers, books, research materials and historical evidences. The report from this committee could be used by Telangana in future, to educate our progeny on our history, to help our administrators to rule better in future, to make a case against Andhras who have discriminated us, and as vindication of why we formed our new state.
However, we should completely, unanimously and categorically reject Srikrishna Committee as a political solution to the current situation in Telangana, because it doesn’t provide one. There should no expectation whatsoever that Srikrishna Committee will provide a solution to the current problem in the state. What is needed is not another ‘study’, not another ‘research’, but an action that demonstrates political expediency, a political and unequivocal decision that solves the problem of Telangana right away – which is creation of Telangana. All the actions should be towards that direction – the next and immediate steps should be: decision on the fate of Hyderabad, agreements on sharing of resources, repatriation of settlers, compensations to different regions, etc. Nothing more nothing less.
Let’s make it clear to ourselves now. We don’t want to be a guinea pig for another social research.
Why do we fear this committee?
When we reject this committee, our detractors celebrate it as a vindication of their stand that Andhras never discriminated Telanganas. They ask us, ‘what do you fear? That the truth will come out – that we never discriminated you?’
Let it be known to the world that we do not fear this committee. We reject it because we know exactly where this is leading us. So many commissions, so many agreements have come before – and we know the exact outcome of all those. Nothing happened. The fact that Andhras are celebrating after listening to terms of reference should tell us something. Leaders like Chiranjeevi are requesting for the report’s deadline be extended into next year. That should tell us something.
The formation of this committee is only a delay tactic. This is thrust upon us only to buy time. This is only to ensure the movement wanes or turns violent. That way this movement can be crushed. That way the hegemony can continue as before.
It is not that we don’t believe the integrity of the committee members. In fact, the fact finding mission will validate our assertions that we were discriminated in this state. We believe that the report from Srikrishna Committee will bring in great value to our current people’s movement. Their findings will be of immense importance to people of Telangana while we chart our new course. The research material will be used by future leaders of Telangana to identify the areas that need attention, focus on the key issues, and make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of Andhra Pradesh in new Telangana.
However, we are not interested in waiting for another academic research which has no teeth, which has no power to make their recommendations binding. In short, we reject the committee since it is not the political solution we are waiting for. We embrace the committee only to produce a nice research material for our future.
Seek political decision
The solution to Telangana problem lies in political decisions, not in committees, studies or research. We have had 53 years of overwhelming evidence of false promises and broken agreements. That is good enough to demerge this state which was formed on a conditional merger based on set of safeguards and protections which were all flouted or revoked. All political parties have promised to grant Telangana statehood in the last ten years. So, why prepare another case? What we need is an immediate decision that decides the fate of Telangana.
Between 1857 and 1947, British sent many fact finding missions to India. Each of them made recommendations. Some were taken up and some were not. But when it came to giving independence to India in 1947, no committee was sent on a fact finding mission. Instead, Lord Mountbatten was sent to transfer the power, to free the nation, not to research, study and then give a report. That’s what we are seeking right now in Telangana - a clear and emphatic decision that actually spells out creation of Telangana, and the steps towards that creation, not another commission or mission.
The agitation was started to bring in Telangana, not create an academic report. Telanganas have to step up the agitation and not wait for 31 December 2010 report. They should bring an immediate closure to what was initiated on 9th December 2009. The current solution is based in politics and for that a political fight has to be taken up.
I propose the following:
- JAC should take more responsibility and accountability for the political agitation of Telangana. They should make fewer pronouncements and create more action. They should be in charge of entire Telangana agitation at political and people’s level.
- JAC should make binding agreements with all its members – this dillydallying on part of some political parties within the state is not helping the agitation to make a concerted effort. JAC should ensure that all parties are on board before spelling out a decision or action. Right now, we see the whole agitation going disarray. For example, some political outfits resign while others did not.
- JAC should regulate all campaigns across the region, so that various bodies are prepared and enacted with a clear focus. Right now too many agitations are happening on their own without a single goal or objective in mind. A campaign advisory group should be formed which clearly details all activities for the future.
- Entire Telangana should prepare itself for a massive non-cooperation movement. Steps should be taken up by JAC to announce a series of non-cooperation activities and prescribe them to people of Telangana so that they can carry out them out.