HYDERABAD: The Telangana movement has, in fact, become stronger after the destruction of statues on the Tank Bund, Telangana Joint Action Committee chairman M Kodanda Ram says.
In an interview with the Express, the academic who is leading the movement for a separate state, says “Telangana youth are boiling with rage. They call me every day to know what the next programme is.
The TJAC has already given a call for protests across the region tomorrow and is getting ready to perform the ‘last rites’ of the Assembly on March 18 as it is one month since the Assembly has ‘died’ with all the Telangana members boycotting the session.’’ He says the Tank Bund incident was the result of the anguish of the protesters at the curbs that the police had imposed. “Any movement, if sought to be suppressed by the state, will only gain in momentum.
The issue at stake is something that the leadership has to tackle on a different plane. It should not be entrusted to the police.” Kodanda Ram is highly critical of registration of cases against the youths who did not do anything on that day except raising slogans. “I came to know that the police had arrested one priest while he was on his way home after locking the temple. Among the arrested persons was a Bihari, a Gujarati and even an Andhra. Most of the arrested had nothing to do with vandalism.
What kind of democracy is this if a Telangana youth cannot raise Jai Telangana slogan on the Tank Bund?” he asks.
The TJAC chairman also disapproves of the sections of the IPC under which a large number of students and youth have been booked. Some of the sections are very stringent, like attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and that related to causing grievous hurt.
“I am certain that a majority of the students are innocent. In several Telangana districts, the police are rounding up students who were in Hyderabad on that day.
The police admit in private that they are arresting the students because they had to show the number to their bosses.” Kodanda Ram thinks that destruction of statues was not an act against the contribution that the legendary figures had made.
It was an expression of anger among the youths who were seething till evening for the obstructions that the police had caused.
None of the leaders was there at that time. “I was under police detention from morning till evening and KCR too was not around. There was no conspiracy to destroy statues.
It was simply the anger of the Telangana youth finding expression and as it had to be directed at some thing, the statues in front of them came in in full view. They thought they represented the hegemony of the Andhras and attacked them. Nothing more can be read into it.” Kodanda Ram faults the leadership for the incidents of this nature occurring too often.
The day after the destruction of statues, the Assembly discussed the issue for the entire day but a discussion on Telangana even for a minute was never allowed ever since the session began on February 17. “It is a shame that the Assembly is functioning without Telangana representatives.” After the destruction of the statues, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu visited the Tank Bund but did not bother to visit the hospital where a student who attempted suicide was taking treatment. What kind of message would it send to the people? he asked.
Asked how he, KCR and Harish Rao will fight the cases registered against them, Kodanda Ram, says, “The police have not arrested us yet. Let them do.
We will then think of what we should do,” he says.