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TRS leaders move to safety following Naxal threat

By Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
June 15, 2005 12:58 IST
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Telangana Rashtra Samithi leaders on Wednesday moved to safer areas from Naxalite-affected districts as the deadline set by the Communist Party of India-Maoist asking them to sever their ties with the Congress and quit their elected posts ended.

The Maoists had served an ultimatum on the TRS leaders who got elected on the plank of statehood for Telangana to either quit their posts or face the wrath of the Naxalites.

In a statement to the media on June 1, the Maoists asked all the ministers, legislators and leaders of TRS who were enjoying power to resign their posts immediately.

The Maoist diktat applied to two TRS ministers in Manmohan Singh cabinet—TRS founder and Labour Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Minister of State for Rural Development A Narendra, six TRS ministers in the Dr Y S Rajasekar Rao ministry and 20 TRS legislators and three TRS members of Parliament.

CPI-Maoist central committee member Prakash had declared: "This is the final opportunity to the TRS to break the alliance with the Congress. They will be taught a fitting lesson if they do not quit their posts and severe ties with the Congress by the deadline."

While all other political parties-- the Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Bhratiya Janata Party, CPI and CPI-Marxists-- decried the Maoists for issuing "undemocratic" threats to public representatives, the TRS leadership decided not to react publicly to the Maoist ultimatum.

All the same, even as the police stepped up security for the TRS ministers, MLAs and MPs and advised them against venturing into naxalite strongholds, the TRS quietly asked its leaders and functionaries to shift to safer areas like the state capital and district headquarters towns.

The Maoists have asked the people to "drive away" the TRS leaders as they failed to keep up their promise of making the separate Telangana state a reality. The TRS leaders were clinging to power despite the Congress leaders, particularly Chief Minister Dr Reddy, opposing a separate state, the Maoists said.

"After assuming power by deceiving the voters, the TRS leaders have forgotten the promises and are taking the people for a ride," Maoist leader Prakash said.

Stating that the people have a right to confront the TRS leaders, the Maoists warned that 'the People's Liberation Guerilla Army will teach a fitting lesson to the betrayers'.

Maoists asked the TRS cadres to quit their party and join hands with forces fighting for creation of a separate state.
CPI-ML (Janashakti)—another Naxalite outfit—has supported the Maoists' ultimatum. Janashakti secretary Amar extended the warning to legislators and MPs, including Rajya Sabha members, belonging to Congress and hailing from Telangana region.

Amar said the TRS ministers in the state cabinet must quit since they are enjoying power under a Vishalandhra  (united AP) government. He asked the people to take up an agitation for forcing Telangana leaders to resign their elected posts.

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Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad