Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Indian Groups Seek Statehood

नया राज्य तेलंगाना बनाने पर गंभीरता से विचार करने के सरकार के निर्णय से देशभर में सैकड़ों नए और छोटे राज्य बनाने की मांग जोर पकड़ने लगी है। वास्तव में इसके पीछे छोटे राज्यों के नाम पर हमें स्वच्छ और स्निग्ध प्रशासन देने की मंशा कम और नेताओं का राजनीतिक गणित ज्यादा है। इसीलिए शायद, चौधरी अजीत सिंह के 'हरित प्रदेश' और मायावती के 'हरित प्रदेश' की सीमाएं अलग-अलग हैं। खैर जहां करीब दर्जनभर नए राज्यों की मांग निकलकर आई है वहीं कुछ लोगों का मानना है कि कुल मिलाकर पांच राज्य ही काफी हैं। इससे खर्चों में ज्यादा कमी आएगी। वैसे भी अबतक बड़े प्रदेशों के विभाजन के बाद बनाए गए छोटे राज्यों से हमें 'मधु कोड़ा' के अलावा क्या हासिल हो गया है...। यहां अमेरिकी अखबार 'वॉल स्ट्रीट जरनल' में छपी विभूति अग्रवाल की खबर है और उस पर मेरे कुछ मित्रों की टिप्पणियां भी हैं। पढ़ लीजिए!
--- धर्मेंद्र कुमार

Some groups are renewing their push for separate states in India after New Delhi met one protest campaign's wish by deciding to allow a new state to be carved from Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian government's move to support a new Telangana state came after a senior separatist leader staged a hunger strike for more than a week and his supporters agitated across Andhra Pradesh and in its capital, Hyderabad.

Indian activists block a train to protest the central government's decision to support demands for splitting Andhra Pradesh state. The decision also prompted a spate of resignations by local lawmakers.

Among the groups now demanding their own state is Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, a political party that said about 20 members will go on indefinite hunger strike in an effort to persuade the government to form a separate state of Gorkhaland out of the eastern state of West Bengal. In Harit Pradesh, part of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, separatist supporters are threatening to resume their agitation. So have statehood supporters in the Vidarbha region of the western state of Maharashtra.

In West Bengal, the president of the Gorkha party, Pradeep Pradhan, said the party was urging Gorkhas to participate in a four-day business shutdown in the region starting Dec. 14. Gorkhas are an ethnic group that spans parts of Nepal and northeastern India. Pradhan says the separate state would recognize the Indian and Nepali Gorkhas who have been otherwise neglected.

So far, the Indian government has been trying to resolve the Gorkhas' demands through talks between the central and state governments and members of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha party. Pradhan said the party has a meeting scheduled with Home Secretary G.K. Pillai Dec. 21 to discuss the issue. A Home Ministry official declined to comment.

Supporters of Telangana statehood celebrate in Hyderabad on Thursday after the Indian government agreed to support their separatist demands in an effort to quell unrest.

In another separatist region in India's desert state of Rajasthan, a rally of camel-mounted activists took to the streets demanding statehood for the Maru Pradesh region. Maru Pradesh is spread over nine of Rajasthan's 32 districts. The demand is based on an "imbalance in favor of the rest of Rajasthan," said Rajpal Godara, one of the supporters of the movement.

Meanwhile, the path to Telangana statehood remains unclear, as more local legislators in the Andhra Pradesh assembly resigned to protest the prospect of a divided state. So far, 127 of Andhra Pradesh's 295 legislators have quit. The speaker of the local assembly has said the resignations won't be accepted; the assembly has been adjourned until Dec. 14. It was unclear when a resolution for Telangana statehood would be introduced in the assembly.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said no action would be taken "in haste."

Commenting on this, journalist Brij Khandelwal says, "The reaction from different parts of the country after union government's initiative on Telengana clearly underlines the urgent need to appoint a new States Reorganisation Commission to settle this vexing problem once for all. Ad hoc decisions forced by violent upsurges in a piecemeal manner have only harmed emotional integration of the union. The 1956 SRC invluenced by Nehru's own crazy love for unity in diversity principle, was forced to accept language as a basis of division of states. This was against the sound advice of then socialists including JP, Kriplani, Kaka Kalelkar and others who advocated smaller states. Experts then had suggested a federal unit of roughly ten million people with due consideration for population density, area, and natural resources. The Congress leaders ignored this sane advice and the nation has been paying for it. Clearly there is a case for a rational and logical redrawing of the political map of India. For this a new SRC must be announced and all matters relating to demands for new states be referred to it. Let us admit there is nothing sacrosanct about the number of state India should have. Smaller states will definitely cut into parochial and regional sentiments as in Maharashtra these days.

So let's go ahead and have 100 odd states, if that makes people feel happy and involved in the democratic process."

(Special thanks to Vibhuti Agarwal, Wall Street Journal; Brij Khandelwal, Agratoday.in)
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