96-yr-old to go hunger strike for Telangana

Last Updated: Sunday, October 30, 2011 - 20:00

New Delhi: His struggle for a separate
Telangana state may have stretched several decades now but
96-year-old Acharya Konda Lakshman Bapuji remains undaunted as
as he goes on a seven-day hunger strike in the capital from
November one.

Announcing his decision to go on a satyagraha here today,
Bapuji, a 1969 pro-Telangana agitation leader, warned that he
would organise a mass agitation in the region if the Centre
does not initiate the statehood process by the end of his
strike.

"I have been fighting for a separate state for over four
decades now. Promises haven`t been kept, precious lives have
been lost, yet there has been little progress in this issue.
If by the end of this satyagraha no step is taken then we will
launch a mass agitation," he said.

Bapuji, who is also the Chairman of Telangana Freedom
Fighters` Forum, will be joined by other freedom fighters and
prominent leaders from the Telangana region as he undertakes
the satyagraha in Jantar Mantar here.

"The satyagraha would be from 10 AM to 5 PM every day for
seven days, starting from November one. We will begin the
movement with a visit to Raj Ghat to pay homage to Mahatma
Gandhi and then move to Jantar Mantar," he said.

In May this year, he had gone on a five-day tour covering
1,100 km in all Telangana districts along with six other
freedom fighters to raise awareness on "the turmoil people in
the region are put through".

Recalling his role in the 1969 Telangana agitation, when
he was jailed, the veteran lamented that little progress had
been made since he first took up the cause.

"I was jailed soon after I gave up my post as a minister
on March 27, 1969. For me, a separate state was more
important. Four decades have passed but little progress has
been made," said the Gandhian, who also took part in the
1942 Quit India movement.

"The Centre should reiterate its commitment on the
separate statehood issue and address it in a time-bound
manner," he said.

The forum has also shot off letters to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other
prominenet Union Ministers and leaders, including P
Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Pranab Mukerjee, urging them
to take a decision on the issue at the earliest.

"We need a separate Telangana and that is final. We want
Nehru`s dream to be realised, Sonia Gandhi`s commitment to be
re-affirmed and Congress` manifesto to be strengthened and for
these to happen, a decision must be taken quickly," he said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, October 30, 2011 - 20:00

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