The state government has refused permission to Prof Kodandaram’s Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) to hold a public meet in Hyderabad on April 29.

Dictatorial KCR Activists slam Telangana govt move to stall TJS public meetFacebook/KCR
news Politics Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 13:37

Opposition parties and activists have slammed the Telangana government over its refusal to grant permission to the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), a new political outfit launched by Professor Kodandaram, to hold a public meeting in Hyderabad on April 29.

The move by the government, according to activists, raises concerns over freedom of speech and the right to organise meetings.

Kodandaram, who is also the head of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), played an active role in the Telangana struggle for separate statehood. At the time, he was one of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s biggest supporters, but has since become a critic of the TRS-led government.

Speaking on the issue of denial of permission, Kodandaram told reporters, “TRS is practising a ‘pick and choose formula’. While permissions are given for religious events and other public gatherings, including political meetings of other parties and organisations, only TJAC and now TJS are being denied the same. CPM has been given permission to hold its public meeting at LB Nagar for which we are happy, but why deny the constitutionally guaranteed right to hold a meeting to TJS.”

Activists argue that the Telangana government was denying permission for the TJS public meeting on several ‘silly’ grounds.

Speaking to TNM, Congress spokesperson Dasoju Sravan Kumar said, “The TRS government doesn’t want any opposition and any legitimate questions to be asked.”

“This is absolutely dictatorial. They didn’t have any problem to allow a movie function at the LB stadium in the city, but they have a problem with Kodandaram’s meeting, where he wants to discuss people’s issues,” he added.

The Congress leader also dubbed it a ‘decline of dialogue culture’.

However, the KCR government’s ‘muzzling of dissent’ is not a new phenomenon in Telangana.

Kodandaram himself has been subjected to house arrest and taken into police custody several times. 

In February last year, as the TJAC was planning a rally of unemployed youth in Hyderabad, a large number of policemen knocked at Kodandaram’s door at 3.30 am and took him into preventive custody.

Popular organisations like the Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS), which are fighting for SC categorisation, and other student organisations like Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika (TVV) have also been targeted by the state.

MRPS President Manda Krishna Madiga was arrested and sent to jail twice on charges of rampage and rioting in December 2017 during the ‘World Telugu Conference’.

Speaking to TNM, Govind Naresh, state president of Madiga Students Federation (MSF), said that the Telangana government was ‘feeling insecure’.

Lashing out at the Chief Minister, Govind said, “In KCR’s Telangana, democracy is being curbed and fundamental rights are being denied.” He demanded that the government should allow all political meetings without any bias.

Another opposition party, BJP, too has condemned the TRS government’s move to deny permission.

Official spokesperson of the BJP, Krishna Saagar Rao, told TNM, “This is a dictatorial regime. They want to eliminate any political outfit which talks against them.”

He further added, “Any political party should be given permission to organise the meetings. Without any substantial evidence of breach of law and order, they can’t deny permission.”

He also demanded an explanation as to why TJS was being targeted.

“Why do they want to stop them? Are they an extremist organisation?” he asked.

Well-known human rights activist Prof Haragopal also objected to the Telangana government’s “high handedness.”

In a brief conversation with TNM, Haragopal claimed that KCR’s government maintained the same attitude right from the beginning.

He said, “In 2014 itself, they denied permission to TDF (Telangana Democratic Forum) and Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika (TVV) to hold their meetings.”

Talking about TJS, Haragopal said, “He [Kodandaram] has been pushed to the wall to form a political party and the government should not forget that he played a key role in the Telangana movement for a separate state. He is answerable to the people, which is why he is fighting for a justified cause.”

One of the points cited by the police, besides law and order, according to reports doing the rounds, was ‘pollution.’

Responding to the claim, Haragopal said, “Why do environmental problems arise when opposition groups hold meetings, and why not when ruling party organises a meeting? Something is seriously wrong with the government and whoever is advising it.”

Referring to the history of the state’s politics, Haragopal said, “It is an absolutely politically motivated decision. Former Chief Ministers NTR and Chandrababu Naidu were defeated when they tried to muzzle the voices in the same way.”

 
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