Hyderabad: Gangapuram Kishan Reddy, Union minister of tourism, culture and development of north eastern region, and MP from Secunderabad, is euphoric after his over-a-decade crusade fructified, with September 17 being accepted as an official programme of the Central government and a separate programme by the state government.
Speaking exclusively to Sriram Karri, Kishan Reddy dubbed the efforts of TRS and MIM to not allow celebrations all these years as a conspiracy to whitewash history, delegitimise and bury the memory of the freedom fighters and martyrs of Telangana, and to continue a Nizam-inspired reign of injustice, terror, denial of rights.
History is repeating, said Reddy, calling Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao a ’naya Nizam’, and the MIM led by Asaduddin Owaisi ‘neo-Razakars’, and said very soon these forces will bite dust.
Q: Are you happy that TRS and MIM have accepted your proposal to celebrate September 17?
A: No, they are still not willing to accept history or the truth. It is important for everyone, especially the youth, to understand what really happened. The Nizam was hell bent on resisting the people’s will to join free India. The founder of MIM, and the Razakars, unleashed a reign of terror, demolishing temples, breaking idols, killing people, looting villages, plundering, and raping but the only thing the Nizam cared about was his family and property.
India fought a war to liberate Hyderabad. In 1948, when the world was recovering from the ghastly incidents of the World War II, and India itself was trying to reconcile with the horrors of partition, we as a nation did not want to make the United Nations or other countries think we were fighting another war – so it was called ‘Police Action’. Tanks rolled in. Thousands were killed in different villages, including Indian soldiers.
Only when he realised he was totally cornered did the Nizam surrender. Only to save his family and properties. Do you think it is fair to call this merger? Or integration? KCR may tomorrow call our fight against the British to free India a de-merger.
Q. Are you guilty of trying to communalise this chapter in history?
A. Not at all. Common people of this region, Hindus and Muslims, people across castes and religions, across every divide fought. There were many bravehearts who gave up their lives. It is KCR-led TRS and Owaisi-led MIM which want to deny the respect in history books, and to airbrush the Nizam and Razakars.
These people are behaving exactly like them; caring only to save their families and properties. This day has a lesson that creates dread in them – that people will overthrow Nizams.
We are today recalling and celebrating the greatness of freedom fighters across ages and regions. We respect Alluri Sitarama Raju and Birsa Munda, Bhagat Singh and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Why not those from our erstwhile Hyderabad state?
Q. What will the celebration be like?
A. Just like India’s first home minister Sardar Patel came that day to unfurl the Indian Tricolour, our home minister Amit Shah will come and unfurl the Indian Flag. The Chief Ministers of Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka have been invited. All people of the state will join in.
Q. Will CM KCR actually attend?
A. I hope so. I invite him because we must respect history, our freedom fighters. To abstain would be to show disrespect to the heroes of our past. I hope he attends and I am humbly inviting him.
Q. Talking of regular politics, what is the mood about Munugode? And beyond it, in the state?
The biggest political emotion, the mood of the people of Telangana, is to defeat KCR and send him packing. They want change. In Munugode, the BJP will win. Across the state, we hope we will win but the fight is on between the BJP and Congress as to who will emerge as the rival. The BJP has an edge though.
Q. Why does your party not act tough against Chandrashekar Rao or his party – you keep saying there is corruption in Kaleshwaram, or this project or that. But the CBI or ED don’t do anything.
A. The BJP does not interfere or try to influence the Central agencies for political reasons. The CBI can start a probe only if the state government asks for it, or if a court gives a directive. If KCR is clean, let him seek a CBI probe. He is afraid because he is guilty. Once our state government comes, we will order a CBI probe and ensure punishment for all the guilty people.
Q. A big charge against your party – the BJP is communal.
The very definition of secular is so off. If Hindus keep quiet and suffer, they are secular. If they stand up for themselves or ask questions, they become communal. You bring a comedian who disrespects Lord Rama and Goddess Sita, give him protection, it is secular. We ask questions, we are communal.
Q. Do you approve of Raja Singh’s statements?
A. Not at all. My party does not condone such words. We took action. Unlike MIM, which never acted against their leader. When I say no one should disrespect my religion and gods, how can I approve of remarks against other religions. But the double standards of KCR and TRS stand exposed and that cannot be secular. For me, and my party, being Hindu means respecting every religion. If you call that communal, something is wrong with you....