Telangana reminisces KCR's courage, selfless valour on Deeksha Diwas

This was the day in 2009 when KCR, the proverbial pied-piper of a separate statehood movement, took the decades-long struggle to a decisive phase

Telangana reminisces KCRs courage, selfless valour on Deeksha Diwas

HYDERABAD: November 29 or Deeksha Diwas marks a watershed moment in the history of Telangana. In fact, this was the day in 2009 that laid the foundation for changing the geographical shape and fortunes of what would be carved into the newest state of India five years later.

This was the day in 2009 when K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), the proverbial pied-piper of a separate statehood movement, launched himself into a fast-unto-death, taking the decades-long struggle to a decisive phase.

KCR's choice of a fast-unto-death for realising the long-pending demand for a separate statehood stunned everyone. It had a striking resemblance to the selfless act of Potti Sriramulu for the carving out of Andhra Pradesh from the erstwhile Madras state many decades ago. Potti Sriramulu laid down his life for the cause with an epic hunger strike that went on for 58 days. The TRS chief's announcement that he would not hesitate to sacrifice his life to press for a separate Telangana played the catalyst and gave the much-needed impetus.

Proving wrong all his detractors and skeptics who were dismissive of his claim, KCR set out on November 29 from Karimnagar to Rangadhampally Crossroads in Alaganur village of Siddipet where he sat on his indefinite fast demanding that the Congress-led UPA government introduce a separate Telangana bill in Parliament. In a bid to foil his protest, then State Government headed by Rosaiah detained him and shifted him to Khammam jail. Unrelenting, a determined KCR continued his fast right from inside the prison. Even as it rattled the police and official machinery, the TRS chief's resolve sparked a wave of support and spontaneous protests all across the Telangana region.

The TRS chief defying all odds to continue his fast emboldened the Telanganites as students, government employees and Singareni workers poured onto the streets in a massive show of strength. Upset with the police detaining KCR, Srikanthachari immolated himself and sacrificed his life.

Realising that the situation was spiralling out of control, the State Government shifted KCR to NIMS in Hyderabad in the hope of dousing the surcharged atmosphere. But the TRS boss did not give up and continued his fast from his hospital bed to exert pressure on the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

His death-defying gamble certainly paid off when then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announced on the night of December 9, 2009 that the process for the creation of a separate Telangana state had begun.

It was a different story that the UPA dragged its feet from the commitment following massive protests in the other parts of then undivided Andhra Pradesh under the banner of a 'Samaikhyandra movement'. From then, it took a lot more struggles and agitations like 'Sakala Janula Samme', spearheaded by a political joint action committee (JAC) and ably guided by KCR, to come tantalisingly close to the cherished objective.

All that came to a fruition when then Congress president Sonia Gandhi bowed to overwhelming popular sentiment in Telangana. A new state of Telangana was carved out. And KCR, as the torchbearer of the Telangana movement and also as the undisputed leader of the TRS which won the 2014 general elections comfortably, scripted history by assuming office as the first Chief Minister of Telangana.

Thus, the Deeksha Diwas becomes a legend in itself and brings back the memories of arguably one of the most tumultuous agitations led by a plucky leader, with each passing year.

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