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'No matter what, we will achieve Telangana'

March 09, 2010 19:44 IST
The Osmania University in Hyderabad, which has been the steadiest platform for the ongoing Telangana movement, is on the boil yet again. A student committed suicide on Tuesday by hanging himself leaving behind a suicide note in which he had written that he was traumatised by the lack of will on part of the politicians in granting a separate Telangana state.

The students have played the most crucial part in this movement so far. The movement by these students has been led from the historic Osmania University campus.

M Agamani has been in the thick of the action all along. A first year student in MA, Hindi, she is the leader of the Osmania University Joint Action Committee, and says that things on the campus are getting depressing, but that won't act as a deterrent to stop their fight.

In this interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, she discusses the steps that they have taken to stop students from killing themselves, and also how they are planning on setting up a 'Maha JAC' to continue this fight.

Is it true that so far 250 students have committed suicide in connection with the ongoing Telangana movement?

Yes it is.

Are these real statistics or being said for the heck of it to create an impact?

We don't believe in furthering our struggle based on death statistics. This is the information we have, and believe me, I don't wish that the death toll was this high.

In a recent interview with your students' JAC leader, Dr Prithviraj, I had posed a similar question as to what steps are you taking to control these suicides. He had said that they are creating awareness. This has clearly not helped. What do you have to say?

It is our duty to keep trying. We are creating awareness programmes everyday. We make it a point to conduct rallies everyday and keep telling the students that there is no point in committing suicide and our duty is to continue with the struggle. Despite all this, it is happening. You cannot deny the fact that the issue is very genuine and people are emotional about this. They feel betrayed by the leaders whom they had trusted a lot.

Politicians are expected to behave this way. Why are you getting emotive?

What can we do? They are the ones who have to take forward this movement and bring about a logical end to it. The student had trusted their promises, and when one feels betrayed, they are expected to behave in a manner such as this.

Today we know for a fact that the politicians are not serious about the movement, and they are just dancing according to the wishes of the Centre. They hold all party meetings just for the heck of it, and all this is just eyewash.

But suicides are an act of cowardice. Don't you agree with that?

I agree it is not the right thing to do. However, let us not make light of the lives that have been lost. Our motto has always been, 'We will die fighting, but not kill ourselves.' We are doing our best to prevent suicides.

Has the alleged police atrocity stopped?

There is no pressure from the police at the moment. Even today what the police wanted was a letter from us stating that none of us will resort to violence when we take the body on a procession. We had no objection, and have already given that in writing. We will take the body out on a procession peacefully.

Do you have any realisation that this struggle is almost saying 'good bye' to your education? How much are all of you able to concentrate on that?

We are fully aware of our responsibilities. We have been attending classes and will continue to do so. Everyone in the college has been supportive and sympathetic about our cause. However, there is one thing I would like to ask you. What is the use in appearing for the examination? Are there any jobs for us?

But there are students who want to study. There are students of the science wing who need to study bit harder, and also there are those from the non-Telangana region who feel intimidated to come to college.

The science students are very much part of our protest. We are all ready to sacrifice everything it takes for a separate state. The non-Telangana students understand our problems and I don't know if you will believe it, but they have taken part in most of our rallies. We do nothing to disrupt their classes.

What next?

We are looking to form a 'Maha JAC,' which will not have any bifurcations. It will be one common platform that will have the people from all walks of life in it. This is not just a student movement. We want active participation of the farmers and all other people who are affected due to this non-seperation.

What I want to say here is that this movement will not die down no matter what. We will achieve what we have started off, and will take it to the logical end.

Vicky Nanjappa