Telangana movement chief attacked for praising Nizam


Hyderabad : Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao has stirred a controversy by praising the Nizam of the erstwhile Hyderabad State. The communist parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are now seeking an apology from him for eulogizing the alleged despot.

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KCR, as the TRS chief is popularly known, had recently stated that Asafjahi rule (1724-1948) was marked by communal harmony and the development of the Telangana region.

The former union minister, whose party is fighting for separate statehood to the backward region, came under criticism from his rivals when he paid floral tributes at the grave of Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and last Nizam or Asafjahi ruler, on the occasion of his 41st death anniversary here Monday.

The Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and BJP came down heavily on KCR and accused him of insulting the martyrs of the Telangana armed struggle against the Nizam’s tyrannical rule.

Telangana, which comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad, was part of the princely state along with parts of present Maharashtra and Karnataka states.

Hyderabad State merged with the Indian Union following a military operation 13 months after the country’s independence on Aug 15, 1947. The Nizam had refused to accede to the Indian Union but had to surrender after the defeat of his forces.

Protesting against KCR’s remarks, the BJP cleaned the Telangana martyrs’ memorial here Thursday evening. The party has also decided to start a signature campaign in the region against the TRS chief’s remarks.

The BJP, which is also demanding separate statehood for Telangana, said KCR’s remarks would harm the movement. BJP leader and former union minister Vidyasagar Rao alleged that the TRS chief was trying to woo Muslims by praising the Nizam.

“How can KCR praise a dictator who banned Vande Mataram, committed atrocities on people and encouraged forcible religious conversions?” asked Rao.

“By praising the Nizam, KCR has exhibited dictatorial tendencies and undermined the spirit of the Telangana armed struggle,” said CPI leader Venkat Reddy.

Some leaders of the ruling Congress party and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), in their personal capacities, have found fault with KCR’s remarks though the parties did react officially.

TDP leader Rajeswar Rao, who participated in the armed struggle against the erstwhile Hyderabad State, recalled that razakars (volunteers) of the Nizam had committed atrocities and killed 4,000 people.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which has its stronghold in the Muslim-majority old city of Hyderabad, feels that KCR might have praised Nizam to woo Muslims in the run up to the elections for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). The party leaders, however, said they did not attach much importance to these remarks.

Undeterred by the criticism, KCR stood his ground. His party even announced that it would install statues of the Nizam in the separate state they want.

“I will say 1,000 times that Telangana witnessed development during the Nizam’s rule and there was communal harmony,” he said while addressing TRS workers in Karimnagar. He termed communist parties as “anti-national”, saying they supported China during the Indo-China war. He also called the BJP a “communal” party.

He justified his praise of the Nizam of Hyderabad saying that it was part of cultures the world over to recall their past glory. He said though razakars committed atrocities against common people for some time, this did not take away the credit of the good work done by the Nizam.

He pointed out that many irrigation canals, educational institutions and hospitals in Telangana were built by the Nizam.