As ‘people’s strike’ weakens, Congress faces Telangana groups’ ire

October 18th, 2011 - 7:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Hyderabad, Oct 18 (IANS) Leaders of the ruling Congress party Tuesday faced the ire of groups fighting for separate Telangana state for their reluctance to join the “people’s strike”, which appears to have weakened with coal and transport workers and teachers calling off their strike.

Unable to carry on the movement in the absence of support from the ministers and legislators of Congress in the region, the striking workers and teachers returned to work after 35 days.

Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), an apex body of groups fighting for a Telangana state, has declared that it would now target Congress party as it is the main hurdle in formation of separate state.

JAC was expecting Congress leaders to come out openly in support of the “people’s strike” and tender their resignations to mount pressure on the central leadership to initiate the process for formation of a separate state. However, except one minister and nine MPs, none came forward.

What angered JAC was the appeal made by ministers two days ago to employees and workers to withdraw the strike.

With pressure also mounting from various sections, especially parents of the students, the JAC exempted teachers and workers from the strike.

JAC convenor M. Kodandaram, however, did not agree that the movement has weakened. “No section has pulled out of the strike. All of them remain part of the movement,” Kodandaram said Tuesday.

He believes only the nature of the movement has changed. “There is no question of calling off the movement,” he said, pointing out that the government employees are continuing their strike.

JAC, which comprises Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), among other parties, has now decided to target the Congress. It plans to lay siege to the houses of ministers and Congress leaders to mount pressure on them.

Accusing the Congress leaders of becoming tool in the hands of “rulers of Seemandhra” (Ralayaseema and Andhra regions), Kodandaram said that a separate Telangana state can become a reality only if Congress is buried in the region.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to keep the pot boiling, JAC Tuesday called for shutdown of all liquor shops across Telangana Wednesday to support the demand for separate state.

In other developments, police arrested dozens of pro-Telangana lawyers at the high court when they tried to take out a “long march”.

For the second consecutive day, tension prevailed at the high court as lawyers and court employees from Telangana boycotted their duties and staged a protest to demand release of their colleagues arrested Monday.

As the lawyers tried to march and sat on the road in front of the court, police and central paramilitary forces swung into action and arrested them.

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