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Apr 18, 2010 at 02:38pm IST

MIM opposes UT status for Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Ending its silence over the Telangana issue, the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) on Sunday opposed the demand for union territory status to Hyderabad and suggested that if the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh becomes inevitable, a Greater Telangana state comprising Telangana and Rayalseema regions be formed.

MIM, a key political force in Hyderabad, said it was basically for continuing the present status of Andhra Pradesh with constitutional guarantees to Telangana.

"However, if the division becomes inevitable, Greater Telangana state should be formed with Hyderabad as the capital," the party said.

The party has expressed its views on the issue in a memorandum submitted to the Srikrishna committee, which is looking into the demands for and against a separate Telangana state.

MIM, which had suggested union territory status to Hyderabad a couple of years ago, now opposed the demand coming from some leaders of Andhra, Rayalaseema and even Hyderabad.

The party told the five-member panel formed by the central government that Hyderabad is an integral part of Telangana and its resources could be utilised for Telangana state or Greater Telangana state in the event of Andhra Pradesh's bifurcation.

MIM president and MP from Hyderabad, Asaduddin Owaisi pointed out that Hyderabad had been a part of Telangana for centuries and they can never be separated.

MIM wants merger of Rayalaseema with Telangana to form Greater Telangana state on the ground that both are backward regions. The demand is significant in view of the party's presence in some Muslim-majority parts of Rayalaseema. Some Congress leaders from Rayalaseema had already mooted a similar proposal.

Telangana comprises 10 districts, including Hyderabad, while Rayalaseema bordering Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has four districts. Coastal Andhra, the third region, comprises nine districts.

MIM has also demanded special measures to protect the interests of Muslims in the event of Andhra Pradesh's division. It also wanted status of second official language to Urdu in both the proposed states.

The party, which has one Lok Sabha member and seven state legislators from Hyderabad, also sought protection of non-Telangana people living in Hyderabad.

MIM had remained silent ever since the Telangana movement picked up momentum late last year. It did not voice its opinion even after Home Minister P Chidambaram announced in December that the process for formation of Telangana state would be initiated.

The party, however, took part in an all-party meeting called by Chidambaram to discuss the issue on January 5 after his announcement evoked sharp reaction in the two other regions.

In February, a committee headed by Justice Srikrishna was formed to look into the Telangana issue. The committee, which has so far received over 60,000 representations from all three regions of the state, is currently holding consultations with political parties.

The central government has asked the committee to submit its report by the end of the year.

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