[lg policy] India: Arrests before Telangana 'million-man' rally

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 10 20:38:05 UTC 2011

India: Arrests before Telangana 'million-man' rally

About 50,000 people have defied an unofficial curfew in the Telangana
region of south India's Andhra Pradesh state to rally for a separate
state. Police say that 100,000 people have been detained - many in
public auditoriums and stadiums - to prevent them attending the rally
in Hyderabad. Those held include the head of the Telangana Joint
Action Committee and about 50 members of the state assembly.

The protesters dubbed their gathering as a "million-man" rally. But in
the event few demonstrators were allowed by the authorities to

Widespread protests

Deep divisions have emerged over the Telangana issue over the past 15
months. In December 2009, India's Congress Party-led government
promised that the new state would be formed, but later said more talks
were needed.

The announcement prompted widespread protests in the region.


    * Population of 35 million
    * Comprises 10 districts of Andhra Pradesh, including city of Hyderabad
    * Landlocked, predominantly agricultural area
    * One of the most under-developed regions in India
    * Fifty-year campaign for separate status
    * More than 400 people died in 1969 crackdown

In the latest disturbances on Thursday, police used tear gas and
batons to disperse protesting students at Osmania University in
In addition, barricades and police road blocks were set up all over
Telangana to prevent people from attending the "million-man rally".
The BBC's Omer Farooq in the city says that there is a tense
atmosphere there and elsewhere across Telangana with schools, shops
and businesses closed down.

Our correspondent says that the police security operation made it
practically impossible for protesters inside and outside Hyderabad to
attend the rally - all train and most bus services in Telangana were
suspended. Among those detained was Kobanda Ram, head of the Telangana
Joint Action Committee, along with about 50 members of the Andhra
Pradesh state assembly who support separate statehood.

The BBC's Soutik Biswas in Delhi says that the latest protests could
once again re-ignite the Telangana issue and provoke further mass
demonstrations. The final decision on a new state lies with the Indian
parliament. But the state assembly must also pass a resolution
approving its creation. Opponents of the move are unhappy that
Hyderabad, home to many major information technology and
pharmaceutical companies, could become Telangana's new capital.

    * Indian strikers demand new state
    * India state report lists options
    * India opens Pandora's box

[Moderator's note: Andhra Pradesh was the first state created after
India was "reorganized" into language-majority states
in the 1950's.  Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are Telugu-speaking,
although Telangana advocates complain that
Andhra Pradesh Telugus look down on them and their kind of Telugu. (HS)]

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