HYDERABAD: After a brief lull, suicide politics is back in Andhra Pradesh. There has been a sudden rise in the number of suicide cases committed in demand of a separate Telangana state. Within the last one week, four persons committed suicide and three others attempted self-immolation in the Telangana region, which has otherwise been peaceful since last six months after the Sakala Janula Samme (general strike) in October last year.
The self-immolation of a student, Lunavath Bhojya Naik, in Warangal on March 24 reignited the passion for Telangana. Bhojya Naik, a 21-year-old MBA student, self-immolated reportedly shouting ‘Jai Telangana’ slogans in front of the Kakatiya University Arts College here. Shocked students and passers-by tried in vain to douse the flames, hours later, he succumbed to his burns.
As the news spread, leaders from Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Bharatiya Janata Party and others rushed to the spot and paid homage to the deceased. They declared him a martyr and took out a grand funeral procession. Political leaders from the region urged the people of Telangana not to commit suicide, instead fight to achieve a separate state.
Soonafter the incident, an auto-rickshaw driver S Rajamouli too committed suicide by self immolation in Hanamkonda of Warangal district. Close on the heels of these suicide cases, a 24-year-old youth called T Yadagiri a native of Rayalapur village in Rangareddy district, hanged himself for the same cause. The final disaster struck when a 19-year-old too claimed his life by hanging himself to a ceiling fan in Mahbubnagar district. There were three other attempts for self-immolation as well in last one week, two of them are battling for their lives at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, while the third is said to be out of danger.
While it is unclear about the real reasons behind the suicides, none including the family members of the deceased are willing to believe that their loved ones committed suicide for a separate state.
Following the revival of suicides, Telangana issue is back on the boil. A day after the death of Bhojya Naik, political parties observed bandh in the Telangana region. The bandh was successful in the districts, but evoked poor response in Hyderabad. Though it is the first bandh in the last six months, businessmen and also general public fear that it might not be the last. The TRS, BJP and other parties have stalled the Assembly proceedings everyday for the last one week demanding discussion on the issue.
Caught between an indecisive central leadership and suicides for separate Telangana state, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy made an appeal to the people, not to commit suicides as the issue is under consideration with the central government. AICC general secretary and Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told party MPs that the party leadership would intensify its efforts to arrive at a decision on Telangana demand by April 24.