Meeting with the Srikrishna Committee & the Governor of Andhra Pradesh

A number of you have asked for the details of APNRI’s meeting with the Srikrishna Committee and the Governor of Andhra Pradesh; so, here you go.

We’ve arrived in Hyderabad early in the morning on 15th June. Srinivas garu went to Hyderabad a couple of weeks earlier. He booked a room at a local club to use as a meeting point for everyone. We went to the room around noon and started brainstorming for the next day’s session. We’ve invited a few other folks who had presented to the Srikrishna Committee in the past to get their input. At the end of these discussions, we decided to add one more slide to our existing presentation to reflect the progressive trends around the globe towards unification. For example, East and West Germany, Turkey’s efforts to join European Union, despite deep cultural differences etc.

We were scheduled to meet the committee at 11 PM at the MCHR building on June 16th. We reached the gate and the police cross-checked our names against the list they had. At this point we were let in. We drove to the building and were told to go to the 2nd floor.
SKC’s multimedia manager met us in the waiting area and asked if we have a PowerPoint presentation. We gave the file in a USB-drive and they promised to load up the presentation and be ready.

We were ushered in after about a half-hour. We walked into the meeting room and were pleasantly surprised to see Justice Srikrishna. We were told that Srikrishna was abroad and would not be there for our session. When I enquired about his travel, he said he was in the U.S. visiting his family and just returned.

The large room had tables arranged in a U shape and a screen for the projector in the middle. The committee members sat in the middle. They’ve asked those who will do the presentation to sit on one side and the rest on the other side. Punnam garu, Srinivas garu, and I sat on one side and the rest of the team sat on the other side. We introduced ourselves by giving our name, State we hailed from, and the profession. After the introductions Punnam garu introduced the organization and our goals. Then we went into the presentation.

The presentation was basically structured into four parts: i) History of Telugus living together and background on the current movement ii) Data to show how each region performed since the State formation iii) How NRIs are impacted by the current movement iv) What we believe are some solutions to the ongoing problem

One other thing I figured out quickly with the SKC was that they pick up counter arguments from the separatists and use it against integrationists and they use integrationist arguments against separatists. Also, not surprisingly, SKC has never seen our submission before. The committee received thousands of submissions and these are supposed to be reviewed by the consulting companies that SKC hired. However, I doubt even if the consulting companies have the bandwidth to review what people have sent.

Here are some of the questions they asked us during the course of the presentation. These are not verbatim, but paraphrased to the best of our team member’s memories. Of all the members of the SKC, during our presentation Dr. Ravinder Kaur had the most sympathetic expression, while Justice Srikrishna lightened up the environment with his sense of humor. SKC has warned us upfront that they will take an opposite view to extract as much information as they can from us.

While presenting our views about how human relations will suffer if the State is partitioned,
Dr. Ravinder Kaur argued that: Haryana and Punjab have separated in the past and seem to be doing well.

APNRI Response-1: The issue of capital Chandigarh is unresolved after all these years and continues to be a sticking point.
APNRI Response-2: Divisions such as the current one proposed in Andhra Pradesh are fundamentally rooted in hatred. If people are separated on this basis, it will leave deep wounds. Families that left Pakistan after partition to this day cannot reconcile with what has happened.

Mr. Duggal: After all, this is a constitutionally governed country. Whether a State is divided or not, people still have the fundamental rights and they can live anywhere they want. What is the harm in division?

APNRI: The current demand is built on misinformation. Telugu people have a long history of living together. Separatist violence has left deep suspicions in people’s mind about their future and security. In addition to that, separatists are openly making proclamations of a great war, civil war, and turning rivers red. We are not opposed division of the State as long as there is a national framework and it is done for administrative reasons with mutual consent. However, the reasons cited for division today are untenable.

On our argument about Nizam region’s economy will suffer in the event of division-

Mr. Duggal: The new Chief Minister of a Telangana State won’t be a fool. Do you really think he will drive Andhra investors away to the detriment of Telangana State’s economy?

APNRI: Neither is the new Chief Minister of Andhra going to be a fool. The first day he comes into office he will announce incentives of free power, free land, and a tax free regime for businesses that move to Andhra. He will further lobby investors from Andhra to leave Telangana by arguing that they have been mistreated, attacked, and have been accused of being looters. As a result, Nizam region’s economy will suffer.

During the discussion around how the IT industry will be impacted-

Justice Srikrishna: How will the division impact IT industry? I understand there is some slowdown now, however, once things return to normalcy, IT sector should grow as usual.

APNRI: Investments are already fleeing the State in large volumes. Our research shows that the State has already fallen behind by 5 years. There are members in our organization who are staunch integrationists, yet have moved a section of their staff to Bangalore already to deal with possibility of further violence in Hyderabad.

Justice Srikrishna: But those are all short-term impacts. In the long-run, let’s say 5 years from today, IT industry should fall back to normalcy.

APNRI: In the event of two States, there will be intense competition between the two regions for IT business. As a result, some of the IT business will inevitably go to the Kosta region and this in fact would hurt the Telangana economy.

APNRI: Similarly, real estate sector will also suffer with investments slowing down or moving to other regions.

On the topic of human relationships and APNRI’s argument that people across all regions are forming relationships including some of the prominent leaders in the current separatist movement; Dr. Ravinder Kaur wanted to know how many of us that are there that day have married across regions. Three members of our team have said they have married across the regions.

When we gave examples of businesses moving to Bangalore, Chennai, and Shanghai-

Dr. Abusaleh Shariff: Hyderabad is a cosmopolitan city, just like Bangalore. Infosys recently announced that it will expand its operations. Do you think this is an issue that will affect business?

APNRI: Infosys entered a deal prior to the recent violence and had to expand its operations per its agreement with the government. (One of our team members gave a personal example of Citi which originally planned to start its operations in Hyderabad, but decided to move to Shanghai)

When we said that Smt. Gandhi’s 6-point formula has done more harm than good, by perpetuating the differences between regions-

Mr. Rajiv Sharma: Why blame just Gandhi. Leaders of all regions from A.P. have consented to the agreement.


APNRI: Mrs. Gandhi was the leader of the country and was in-charge of the agreement that was put together. Yes, A.P. leaders have to take the blame too, but it was Mrs. Gandhi who was at the helm.

During the concluding remarks-

APNRI: Justice Srikrishna, we urge you to exercise caution with the words you use in your report. We are confident that you will be objective in your assessment. Irrespective of what your recommendation may be, please see to it that there is no verbiage that reflects that there has been discrimination of one region by the other region. Your words will be used 20 years down the road to start another violent movement, the way SRC and Bachawat reports are being used.

Justice Srikrishna: Humorously, “Are you asking me not to use words loosely in my report?”
With that everyone laughed, exchanged pleasantries, shook hands and left the meeting. The session lasted about an hour and a half.

We went to the Raj Bhavan the following day to meet the Governor. After the security check and cross-checking of our names, we were ushered into a visitor room. After snacks and tea, we were then taken into another large room with Nizam style décor that has two large chairs and two sofas. Governor came in about 30 minutes late and apologized for the delay.

We presented him a copy of our report. He skimmed through it and before we could speak, he started talking. He gave an inspirational monologue about why we all should come back to India and make a difference by working in the country. We said, we are helping Indian economy through knowledge-transfer, investments, and by being cultural ambassadors of the country. I don’t think we could convince him :-)

We eventually managed to steer him to the topic of separation. We told him about NRI concerns with regards to law and order. He again veered around saying there is violence in other parts of the world too and that India or Hydreabad is not unique in this matter.

After pestering him a bit more, he eventually took off his gloves. He said that the government is paying close attention to the law and order situation. He asked if we noticed that the violence has been coming down significantly since February and then asked us: “do you think the reduction in violence is just an accident?”

He then assured us that the government will do everything in its power to put things in order. Interestingly, he said, there could again be violence in January and we should all be prepared for it. However, he assured that the government is taking all the measures to ensure law and order prevails.

That is a brief summary of our discussion.

Save Andhra Pradesh!

Nalamotu Chakravarthy

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20 Responses to “Meeting with the Srikrishna Committee & the Governor of Andhra Pradesh”

  1. subbarao says:

    The governor is prophetic indeed. "There could be violence in January".
    There is no doubt about that. What you see is lull before the storm. Both sides sharpening their knives to prepare for eventuality. Poor SKC, Damn if does, Damn if he doesn't. 

    • Chakravarthy says:

      Not sure if I can say "both sides" are sharpening their knives. My interactions with several Samaikya Andhra leaders led me to believe that they have a pathetic organization. In fact ,they hardly have an organization.

      • Chandra says:

        Chakravarthy garu,
        Pathetic organization, I think it is because of the confidence the samaikyavadis have on MLA's and MP's supporting integration!!(I am just joking). But that is not a good sign.  They atleast should have a website which will be highly effective interms of resources or getting ideas from supporters and keeping momentum alive.
        But as you rightly said we telugu people(both separatists and integrationists) have put the fate of AP, not on facts but as a pawn in Central Govt's policy of survival. 

  2. Chandra says:

    It is interesting to read through how the discussion went with SKC. I thought they would ask some more details on, history ,AP and Hyderabad progress from the time of state formation. Then, It seems their consultants have already started working on analyzing the allegations. The important point why migration of people between all districts in AP is not uniform,is because of Zonal system in AP. I think  you have highlighted this point very well which will be significant for SKC to understand the social behaviour.  I feel all other answers were accurate and well presented. Just curious to know whether they interrupted durng the presentation, or they asked questions after the presentation?
    Regarding Hon Governor comments on probable situations existing post jan1 2011, i think we are all prepared to see some action!!. I hope SKC will slowly release hints on what their stand is going to be and prepare  people. But for separatists that will be a do or die so, definitely we will see some unwanted things.  Hopefully govt of India will intervene and bring peace and confidence in the people.
    Thank you very much for leting all of us know the details.

    • Chakravarthy says:

      It was an interactive session Chandra garu. As we presented, the members interrupted with their questions. I don't have high expectations in terms of SKC findings. In the end, this will be a political decision left to the whims of the central government. Our leaders have made the division of the State a pawn in Central Govt's policy of survival.

  3. Kumar says:

    Thanks for posting the update. Hope the facts presented in the powerpoint will be  valuable to SKC and come up with a solution that helps all Telugu people.

  4. Air says:

    Chakravarthy garu,
       even though i like the presentation there are some answers that i am not in favor of.

    In the event of two States, there will be intense competition between the two regions for IT business. As a result, some of the IT business will inevitably go to the Kosta region and this in fact would hurt the Telangana economy.

       even though I am against state division in the way that currently some people want. I am against this point.  All the region should develop equally at least equal opportunities should be given for them to grow whether state is united or divided. I always think why there won't be a city developed in every 200 km. I know it is not possible to do this at single shot. but we can develop hyd, vizaq, vijayawada, tirupathi,karimnagar in parallel and slowly build satellite cities around them can solve the issue. every time if the development go to to hyd or vzq what will happen to other regions. governance is all about creation of wealth and distribution of wealth. If all the wealth is created in one place once the distribution starts the people of that region raise their voice saying their wealth is moved. if not people, politicians starts politics on that.

    about the violence in jan.
       I don;t think there will be violence in Jan 2011. Because after the report is generated it will be submitted to central govt and they won't open that saying we will do or sitting silent or we are working on that we will keep in next session .except some really nutral approach is there in the report. I don;t think that possible as one need division other one not there is no nutral exists(may be I am wrong). But when the elections/ some other benefits approaching the parties will say that waiting is over we need now and make politics and may start violence at that time. This is my opinion( may be i am wrong)

    • Chakravarthy says:

      Both are good points.
      - Your argument about SKC report catching dust for a long period is quite likely
      - Regarding Hyderabad/IT: My argument with SKC was to discredit separatist argument that they are asking for separation for economic gain. I was arguing that separation in fact hurts Nizam economy. If we can somehow manage to develop all the regions equitably, I am all for it. However, I am not sure if it is doable.

      • AMRAO says:

        I wanted to highlight the fact that there are more than 3 lakh IT and ITES jobs (estimates) in Hyderabad region whereas in Vizag, there are less than 10000. It is not hard to develop Vizag region in terms of IT and ITES if the government really wants do it.
        a) There are good number of Engineering colleges in the Vizag area itself. On top of that, colleges from Vijayawada region to Srikakulam region provide a larger pool.
        b) The airport needs to be upgraded to an International standard. I believe this is already underway but should have been done long ago.
        c)  Allow the private companies to provide infrastructure, uninterrupted power and internet bandwidth.
        d) The sea shore and the general weather (very sultry though!) will attract software companies.
        b) and c) are very much doable.

  5. Prakash says:

    @AMRAO, I agree Vizag is a great place. However, there are few takers for the SEZ in front of the Rushikonda beach. Most of the companies have not started work three years after allottment. If this is the situation hen APIIC is providing infrastructure, your c can only be called a pipedream.

  6. subbarao says:

    Off topic but I wanted to get your attention to this newly released book.
    Interesting thing is in one of the chapter the journalist concludes PV was an Integrationist on the outside but a staunch separatist from the heart.

  7. praveen says:

    I think facts should come out from Sri Krishna Committee. If allegations from seperatists are false, Sri Krishna Committee should openly announce that. If the committee says united AP, it should be united AP forever. After 20 years, another KCR, Jayashankar will come with same old stories of discrimination.
    If there is real systematic discrimination against Telangana, it should be openly announced and Telangana should be formed but on a nation-wide criterion or framework along with other seperate state demands.

    • prabhakar says:

      I fully agree with Praveen. SKC should validate each and every allegation and reject false allegations.
      It is possible one or two allegation are genuine and all governments should take appropriate actions.
      Whether state is divided or not there should be no hostilities between ordinary people.
      In either case all matters should be settled amicabilly to avoid strained relations.

  8. Prakash says:

    Prabhakar, as a publicly funded entity a committee is expected to stay within its terms of reference. Anything else is beyond its scope.
    Mr. Nalamotu has already "modified" the TOR to confer SIG status on his countrymen :) Expanding the scope to "validate each and every allegatio" is a meaningless drain on public finance. Do I detect a hope that procastrination will bury the matter in this fervent plea?

    • prabhakar says:

      I agree that it is waste of money and time.
      I feel proving/disproving allegations is most important.
      Without such validation division of state will result in multiple problems.
      First and important is animosity between two sides will continue for long time to come.
      Second equally important is division of assets and liabilities. This will always be a contentious issue in future.
      You may say it can be done after SKC or Center declares in favor of state division.
      But declaring division without rationale for division may create more problems.

    • Chandra says:

      //Expanding the scope to "validate each and every allegatio" is a meaningless drain on public finance//
      I think you missed the whole point of TOR of SKC. This is what the first thing the SKC is asked to do! And SKC and their consulatants are paid for  this.  Going to villages and asking a villager is a part of the SKC TOR.  Because the villagers do not know the reality, they might have supported separation based upon stories of injustice, and told the samething to SKC during their field trips.
      I would say, before fact finding, going to fields and finding the opinion of the people is a wastage of money!

  9. Prakash says:

    Prabhakar, Chandra,
    There are thousands of allegations on all sides. Presenting the "correct picture" and "educating" people on the "truth" is a job for advocacy groups & political activists, not publicly funded committees. (For example, one of the goals of the American association called APNRI is to "educate telugu people about history & culture") If anyone believes that villagers are supporting separaton (or status-quo) because they do not know the truth, they should try to educate these villagers.
    In general, we should go with a broad agreement thay people have a right to make choices, even if it is wrong in my opinion. If I believe a limited number of propaganda items is behind the "undesirable preference", I can highlight these to SKC & request for verification. A sweeping expectation of all allegations being verified will result in a deluge. Just to give an example, the communists may come up with a new theory that CIA (their posterboy "bad guy") is behind one or both sides.

    • Chandra says:

      Organizations like APNRI are formed volunterily. You can not assign them any job or responsibility. Whenever a confusion arises among people, two things will be done. Either govt comesout with facts or the two parties goes to courts.
      Even if APNRI or TDF kind of organizations tell the truths, why should villagers always  believe like they did in present case? SO what i mean is that it has to be done by an authority or govt  organization.
      Now people can make choices, but when you make a choice there will be a logical decision in the mind. Asking for Telangana is not like asking for a pizza. Just because i like to eat pizza today (choice which does not  have any logical basis), you can not ask separate state or separate privilage?

  10. Aditya says:

    Thanks for speaking some sense. Very true that the state should not be formed on the basis of misinformation.

  11. telangana says:

    u r not an indian citizen…u don't have a right to say anything about telangaana

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