The TRS government in Telangana had earlier rejected demands by BJP for officially celebrating the day in view of the reservations of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and other Muslim groups.

A collage of CM KCR, Revanth Reddy and Owaisi
news Politics Thursday, September 15, 2022 - 18:35

Telangana is gearing up to celebrate September 17, which marks the anniversary of accession of erstwhile Hyderabad state with the Indian Union, as “Telangana National Integration Day”. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will hoist the national flag at the Public Gardens on September 17 as part of the celebrations. The state cabinet has announced year-long celebrations this year as diamond jubilee year of Hyderabad liberation.

The announcement made by KCR to celebrate the day seems to have taken the sheen off the plans by the Bharatiya Janata Party to derive political mileage out of the TRS party’s reluctance for official celebrations. Though the BJP has been celebrating Telangana Liberation Day and regularly demanded that the state announce official celebrations to mark the day, it is for the first time since the formation of Telangana that September 17 will witness state celebrations. 

KCR is also scheduled to inaugurate the Komaram Bheem Adivasi Bhavan and Sevalal Banjara Bhavan on the same day. The three-day celebrations as part of the event will begin on September 16. A rally will be taken out from the Necklace Road in which artists, performing around 30 different art forms like Gussadi, Gond and Lambadi dance, will participate. Later, the Chief Minister is scheduled to address a public meeting. Earlier last week, Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar held a meeting with officials and reviewed the arrangements for the celebration and directed the officials to ensure the programme is a grand success.

The Chief Secretary has also directed that mass rallies with students, youth and women should be held in all Assembly constituencies on September 16.  Similarly, cultural programmes should be held in all district headquarters on September 18.The Chief Minister will also hoist the national flag on the occasion.

On September 17, 1948, the erstwhile Hyderabad state was merged with the Indian Union following India's military action 'Operation Polo', popularly known as 'police action'. Like the previous governments of Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in undivided Andhra Pradesh, the TRS government in Telangana had rejected demands for officially celebrating the day in view of the reservations of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and other Muslim groups, who maintain that Muslims were massacred during the 'police action'.

TRS, Congress and other parties used to celebrate September 17 every year as 'Telangana Merger Day' by hoisting the national flag and paying tributes to freedom fighters. However, this year, the Congress too has elaborate plans.

Congress party’s plans

The Congress in Telangana had announced that they will be introducing a separate Telangana state flag on the occasion of the 75th Hyderabad integration day. The national flag and the new state flag will be hoisted by the Telangana Congress Chief. “Congress will also introduce a new ‘Telangana thalli’ (Mother Telangana), that will reflect the sentiments of all sections of people in Telangana. INC will reject the ‘Telangana thalli’ that was created by TRS,” said an official release. Telangana thalli is a personification similar to Bharat Mata. The Congress has announced that the party will also organise year-long celebrations as part of the National Integration Day. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Revanth Reddy has said that the new state flag will be hoisted in all Telangana villages along with the Tricolour on September 17.

BJP had been demanding for decades that the day be officially celebrated like it is being done in some districts of Maharashtra and Karnataka, which were part of the erstwhile Hyderabad state.

Being an emotive issue with the potential for communal polarisation, the BJP has been aggressively pushing for official celebrations. At every public meeting, Amit Shah and other Central leaders of the BJP have been attacking KCR for not celebrating September 17 officially due to 'fear of  the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM)’

Interestingly, the cabinet decision came a couple of hours after AIMIM, a friendly party of TRS, demanded that September 17 be celebrated as national integration day. AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaiis wrote to both Amit Shah and KCR, with the suggestion.

AIMIM party’s plans

On the occasion of National Integration Day, for the first time in its history, the AIMIM is organising a motorcycle Tiranga Rally on Friday, September 16. This will be followed by a public meeting and a flag hoisting programme. AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi along with party legislators and religious scholars will attend the programme. The Tiranga rally organised by AIMIM will start from Mir Alam Eidgah in Tadban and the public meeting will be held at Teegalakunta.

AIMIM had always maintained that there is only one Independence Day for the entire country and hence there is no need for separate celebrations in Telangana. Owaisi also argued in his letters to both Amit Shah and KCR that Hindus and Muslims were advocates of a united India under a democratic, secular and republican government. This is also reflected in the Sunderlal Committee report.

The Committee was appointed by the Government of India to report on the situation after the merger of Hyderabad. The Committee found that mass violence was committed against common Muslims living in these territories. Owaisi attached a report of the committee with his letter.

(With IANS inputs)

READ: There is more to Hyderabad state’s history than BJP’s 'Liberation Day' narrative

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