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Telangana formation day: The birth of a movement

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On March4 2017, the Government of India declared June 2 2014 as the Telangana Formation Day. An agitation that went on for years finally paid off and the people of Telangana had their separate state.

Telangana formation day: The birth of a movement

It all began in 1953 when the States Reorganisation Committee was appointed to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic lines. After going through the recommendations of the SRC, the then Home Minister Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant decided to merge Andhra state and Telangana to form Andhra Pradesh state on 1 November 1956 after providing safeguards to Telangana in the form of Gentleman's agreement.

The period between 1969 and 1973 was marked by two political kranthi namely 'Jai Telangana' and 'Jai Andhra' movements. Social tensions arose due to influx of people from the Coastal Andhra region. Protests started with the hunger strike of a student from Khammam district for the implementation of safe-guards promised during the creation of Andhra Pradesh. The movement slowly manifested into a demand for a separate Telangana.

In 1997, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) passed a resolution seeking a separate Telangana. In 2000, Congress party MLAs from the Telangana region who supported a separate Telangana state formed the Telangana Congress Legislators Forum and submitted momorandum to their president Sonia Gandhi requesting to support the Telangana state.

A new party called Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), led by Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), was formed in April 2001 with the single-point agenda of creating a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital.

In 2001, the Congress Working Committee sent a resolution to the NDA government for constituting a second SRC to look into the Telangana state demand. This was rejected by then union home minister L K Advani citing that smaller states were neither viable nor conducive to the integrity of the country.

In April 2002, Advani wrote a letter to MP A Narendra rejecting a proposal to create Telangana state explaining that "regional disparities in economic development could be tackled through planning and efficient use of available resources". He said that the NDA government, therefore, does "not propose creation of a separate state of Telangana"[39] However, in 2012, Advani said that if their then partner TDP cooperated during NDA tenure, a separate state of Telangana could have been created.

On 9 December 2009, the then Union Minister of Home Affairs P Chidambaram announced that the Indian government would start the process of forming a separate Telangana state, pending the introduction and passage of a separation resolution in the Andhra Pradesh assembly. This resulted in protests across both Andhra and Rayalseema.

Students, workers, lawyers and various organisations in the regions launched the Samaikyandhra Movement demanding that the state be kept united.

MLAs from these regions also submitted their resignations in protest seeking a reversal of the home minister's statement.

On 23 December, keeping in view the reactions of people of other regions, the Government of India announced that no action on Telangana will be taken until a consensus is reached by all parties and groups in the state.

A Joint Action Committee (also known as JAC or TJAC) comprising political and non-political groups was formed to lead the demand for separate Telangana with Osmania University professor M Kodandaram as its convenor. On 3 February, the government appointed a five-member committee headed by Justice Sri Krishna to look into the issue.

Committee Report:

The committee opined that most regions of Telangana (excluding Hyderabad) were either "on par or a shade lower" than Coastal Andhra. When Hyderabad is included, Telangana fared better. The most backward of all regions was in fact Rayalaseema.

The committee, however, agreed with the violations of GO 610. Most violations, however, have been in the education and health sectors due to dearth of qualified locals. It also noted that the funds released for educational institutions in Telangana were lower than in the other two regions of the state. The committee did not see the Telangana movement as a threat to national integrity. Noting the emotions in the general public about the issue, a perceived neglect in implementation of assurances given to the region,it also said that "The continuing demand, therefore, for a separate Telangana, the Committee felt, has some merit and is not entirely unjustified". The conclusion of the report included the following statements "Therefore, after taking into account all the pros and cons, the Committee did not think it to be the most preferred, but the second best, option.

Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions.

Cabinet approval:

On 3 October 2013, the Union Cabinet approved the creation of the new State of Telangana. A Group of Ministers (GoM) was created to settle issues concerning the new state and the State of Andhra Pradesh.

Hyderabad will be the shared capital for 10 years, after which it will belong to Telangana, said the Home Minister.

On 8 February 2014: the Telangana Bill is passed by the Lok Sabha with support from the BJP and Congress. The Telangana bill is passed by Rajya Sabha with the support form the BJP.

The bill receives the assent of the President and published in the gazette on 1 March 2014. On 4 March 2014 the Government of India declares 2 June 2014 the Telangana Formation Day.

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