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Kharge on same page as BJP on Telangana’s ‘Liberation Day’ row? ‘Hyderabad got azaadi on 17 Sept 1948’


The Congress President’s comments are being seen as an endorsement of the BJP stand on 17 September.

Kharge, who is from the Bidar area of Kalyana, Karnataka (which was under the Nizam’s rule), reportedly lost his mother and sister in a fire “set by the Razakars” — private militia of the then Nizam of Hyderabad, who allegedly unleashed a reign of terror against the Hindu populace in the area, after the Nizam decided to remain independent, instead of merging Hyderabad with India in 1947.

It was on 17 September, 1948, that the VII Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Alim Khan — the then ruler of the princely state of Hyderabad — agreed to its integration into India, following the intervention of the India army.

“Telangana’s mukti (liberation) completed 75 years today [Sunday], which would not have been the case without Sardar [Vallabhbhai] Patel’s [the first home minister of India] timely intervention. The Hyderabad police action strategised by him, respecting sentiments of the locals suffering under the cruel Nizam rule, led to the Nizam’s (militia) Razakars’s surrender without bloodshed,” Home minister Amit Shah said at the Secunderabad Parade Grounds Sunday, while attending the Union Ministry of Culture’s ‘Liberation Day’ event.

The Razakars militia was formed by the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Qasim Razvi, after he took over the reigns of the MIM following the death of Bahadur Yar Jung in 1944.

After Hyderabad’s accession to India, Razvi was jailed and left for Pakistan after his release in 1957.

He handed over the reins of MIM to Abdul Wahid Owaisi, who rebranded the party as the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Owaisi was the grandfather of present AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

The AIMIM has been politically aligned with the ruling BRS in Telangana, a factor that the BJP appears to be politically exploiting the in poll-bound state. Telangana is scheduled to hold assembly elections later this year.

“Those Razakars fled away Pakistan, the wafadars (loyals) are standing in front of you fighting for their rights,” Owaisi said in a public meeting later Sunday, alluding to some BJP leaders’ alleged reference to him as a ‘Razakar’. “We won’t leave this country at any cost.”

Without naming the K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) government, Shah had alleged that after the formation of the separate state of Telangana in 2014, Hyderabad ‘Liberation Day’ was not commemorated officially.

“Parties immersed in appeasement, votebank politics, should mind that if you hide away from facts, history, then people will turn away from you,” Shah said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last year, decided to begin the tradition of celebrating Hyderabad Vimochan Din on (his birthday) 17 September. Shah had attended the inaugural Liberation Day event last year at the same venue.

The BJP has been accusing CM Rao of refusing to commemorate ‘Liberation Day’ and honouring the martyrs of 1948 “in order to appease his Muslim friend AIMIM”, the BRS’s political ally.

Following the Centre’s announcement of the ‘Liberation Day’ celebration last year, the KCR government announced plans for the Telangana Jateeya Samaikyatha Dinotsavam (national integration day), backed by the AIMIM.

Soon after Shah’s event Sunday, KCR reached the Public Gardens where he unfurled the national flag, as he had last year.

“We decided to call it integration day as it is the day Hyderabad, Telangana was integrated into the Indian union. The extraordinary struggles, sacrifices of even ordinary people of that time will forever be etched in our thoughts,” KCR said Sunday.

Without reacting to Shah’s purported accusations, KCR, who is eying a hattrick win in the election slated in November-December, chose to touch upon the development and welfare works undertaken by his government, including the Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation, which he inaugurated Saturday.

AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi led a Tiranga bike rally in the old city Sunday afternoon, in support of “National Integration Day.”

“The Nizam’s rule was people-oriented, he built hospitals, universities, reservoirs, airports and even donated lands to temples,” the MP said, addressing a public meeting later.

“The events around the 1948 annexation were a dark chapter in Hyderabad’s history. While Hindus suffered, Muslims also faced the Razakar atrocities. It is high time the politicians stop harping on the communal angle for political gains,” Syed Inam-ur-Rahman, a Hyderabad-based researcher on the Nizams told ThePrint.

Also read: SC criticises ‘misuse’ of Telangana’s preventive detention law — ‘oblivious’ to fundamental rights

What happened in 1948?

When India became independent in 1947, the Nizam decided to remain independent, while his Hindu subjects, who formed the majority of the population of the erstwhile princely state, wished to become Indian citizens.

Shah in his speech Sunday alleged the Nizam’s subjects suffered 400 days of hell, before the state was integrated into India. He cited the alleged massacre at Parakala in Telangana, Parbhani in Maharashtra and Gorta near Bidar Karnataka — for raising the Indian flag — and other protests against the Nizam, as reasons which prompted Patel to initiate action to for Hyderabad’s integration into India.

“Sardar Patel compared an independent Hyderabad (under Nizam) to cancer in the stomach,” the Union Home Minister said.

What followed, was a five-day war known as “police action”, or Operation Polo, which had commenced on 13 September, 1948, when Indian troops arrived in Hyderabad, culminating in the surrender of the Nizam and the Razakars, and the integration of Hyderabad into India on 17 September.

Historians often point out on that ‘Operation Polo’ was a painful memory, especially for the Muslim minority community. The Sundarlal Committee Report, which was submitted in 1949, said that about 27,000-40,000 people were killed during the operation. The report also reportedly cited how the Indian troops allegedly indulged in looting, rape, and murder of innumerable Muslims.

Though the Nizam’s regime was purportedly largely free of communal tensions, the alleged terror unleashed against the Hindus by the Razakars under Qasim Razvi during 1947-48, is often remembered as A dark period. Razvi is also said to have influenced the Nizam’s decision to not join the India in 1947.

The action by the Indian troops of 1948 was preceded by the Communist Party of India (CPI)-led Telangana Armed Struggle, a peasant uprising against the then landlords of Hyderabad.

After Hyderabad became a part of India, the erstwhile Nizam was given the title of ‘Raj Pramukh’ by the then Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru government in the country.

Over the past few years, the Telangana BJP has been trying to galvanise the public sentiment here on the Vimochana Diwas (freedom day) theme, portraying the momentous occasion of Hyderabad’s integration into India “as liberation of [the] vast majority [of] Hindus from a tyrannical Nizam rule”.

According to Census figures, Muslims constitute about 13 percent of the state populace.

While this population is a major votebank for the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM in seven assembly segments in Hyderabad, the Muslim electorate is a also deciding factor in several mofussil assembly segments which the BRS wants to retain.

Accusing the BRS under KCR of refusing to honour the 1948 martyrs, Bandi Sanjay, the firebrand Karimnagar MP and ex-BJP Telangana chief, alleged during a discussion in Lok Sabha last month on the no-confidence motion raised by the Opposition against the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, “KCR means Kasim Chandrasekhar Rizvi”.

In the years since Telangana’s formation in 2014, the hoisting of the national flag on 17 September was confined to the TRS and Congress offices. In the past few years, however, BJP leaders and cadre started hoisting the tricolour in public places.

While the AIMIM, Communist parties and others point to the BJP’s absence in the 1948 movement against the Nizam, Shah Sunday said that the rebellion against the Nizam involved people from across the Arya Samaj and Hindu Mahasabha to students of Osmania University and Bidar peasants.

In a letter to Shah last year, Owaisi had written, “The common Hindus and Muslims of erstwhile Hyderabad state were advocates of a united India under a democratic, secular, and republican government… The struggles of the people of the erstwhile Hyderabad state against colonialism, feudalism, and autocracy are a symbol of national Integration rather than merely a case of ‘liberation’ of a piece of land.”

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: Buoyed by Karnataka win, Congress guns for Telangana with mega rally, CWC meet, 5 poll guarantees



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