Wednesday, March 09, 2011

TELANGANA 20: 'Million March' - Govt. turns Hyderabad into Tiananmen Square!

The last 2 days made me wonder if the autocratic Egypt and the dictatorship in Libya are better than the supposedly 'world’s largest democracy’ in public freedom. Even the British may not have clamped down on the democratic protests as aggressively as our state government is now doing. This Govt. randomly arrests, detains people. They restrict people from their own cities and towns. They casually disregard rights commissions’ instructions and callously violate high court’s guidelines. Tomorrow is yet another day the police promise they would be at their worst. Today, the whole of Hyderabad has become Tiananmen Square for Telangana people.

As you all know, the protest rally tomorrow has been cut down in scale due to a +2 exam that is scheduled for tomorrow. The Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) which earlier called for the 'Million March' did so on an understanding with the Intermediate Examination board that the exam could be rescheduled for 12 March. However, the State government prevailed upon the board not to reschedule, to whittle down the protests. Keeping in view the importance of the exam for youth's career, the protests have been scaled down for few hours after the exam ends tomorrow.

TJAC has been very sensitive to the public in its scheduling of different kinds of protests. Even in December 2009, when the protests were at their peak with daily rasta-rokos, bandhs etc, Christmas day was given an exception so as to avoid inconvenience to our Christian brethren. Very recently, blockade of a national highway NH9 was postponed keeping in view a community festival. While TJAC, which comprises of intellectuals and civil society groups have been so reasonable, the state government is going to the abyss in trying to quell the protests and suppress democratic voices. Today, even as I mail you, the government announced cancellation of all trains within Hyderabad and those that are coming in from other Telangana districts into Hyderabad tomorrow. The government is trying every trick to stop people from coming to the protest march. It has diverted all bus services to avoid taking the central route through Hyderabad city. 100,000 people have been detained today across other Telangana districts as they were trying to come to Hyderabad. Within Hyderabad 10,000 people have been detained. T he police say that the main area of protest, Tank Bund besides the Hussain Sagar Lake, will be cordoned off tomorrow. 

While TJAC called for peaceful protests, Andhra Government made it virtually a bandh by cancelling public transport and bringing in traffic restrictions. While TJAC called for a million march, the government contributed 100,000 police men/paramilitary forces in and around Hyderabad. That is a good start. I wish the police show the same enthusiasm in tackling the drug trade, the faction killings and the land mafia in the city. It is amusing to see the commissioner speak how the TJAC should do democratic, lawful, peaceful protests. For the record, the police did not give a single permission for any democratic meeting, rally in last 15 months. The police refused each time and the agitators diligently went to high court/supreme court to get permissions and got them. It is the police, on the other hand, who were severely criticized for their handling of the democratic protests. The atrocities in OU received international attention when REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS condemned the police action in the university. The police have been repeatedly put to notice by the State’s HRC and the national HRC. But the police, being willing party to the government’s anti-Telangana policy, won’t budge. Instead they lecture us on how to uphold democratic values.

Even as I blog this, I see the SHRC once again instruct the police to uphold human rights of the agitators. But of course they would not heed. But then the agitators have already been conditioned for the enemy. And the March will be on in the face of the enemy. And when the dust settles down, the state and the police will have yet another humiliation they need to shoulder, in addition to those of bandhs, rail-rokos and assembly muttadis that they already have faced. This would be another self-goal from the government. In their insecurity over losing to the Telangana people, they will end up disrupting public life and imprisoning themselves in their houses. And eventually they would meet the same fate as the Arab and African dictators. Till then the March of the Millions would be on. 

Image courtesy: Jayaprakash Telangana


Anonymous said...

Can you pls tell me 5 benefits of getting a seperate Telangana state?

Anonymous said...

can read 5 posts here :p :)