Remembering Courageous Trailblazers – The Telangana’s Forgotten Heroes

#Khabarlive attempts to remember those Telangana forgotten warriors whos sacrifices makes a way to get the srparate Telangana state.

The Telangana statehood agitation was a long and protracted struggle that lasted for over a decade. The movement was spearheaded by a number of individuals and organizations, who made great sacrifices in the pursuit of their goal.

Some of the most prominent Telangana statehood heroes include:

  • K. Chandrashekar Rao, the founder of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi now Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi (BRS) party and the first Chief Minister of Telangana.
  • M. Kodandaram, the founder of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) and a leading figure in the statehood movement.
  • Alluri Sitarama Raju, a revolutionary who fought against the British Raj and is considered a hero by many Telangana people.
  • Komaram Bheem, a tribal leader who fought against the Nizam of Hyderabad and is considered a hero by many Telangana people.
  • Potti Sriramulu, a freedom fighter who died in protest against the delay in granting statehood to Telangana.
  • Mallu Swarajyam: Mallu Swarajyam was a freedom fighter and social reformer from Telangana. She actively participated in the Indian independence movement and fought against social evils such as child marriage and untouchability..
  • Manda Krishna Madiga: Manda Krishna Madiga is a prominent Dalit activist and leader in Telangana. He has been actively involved in advocating for the rights and welfare of the marginalized sections of society, particularly the Madiga community.

These are just a few of the many people who made significant contributions to the Telangana statehood movement. Their sacrifices and dedication helped to make Telangana a reality, and they will be remembered for their contributions to the state.

In addition to the individuals mentioned above, there are many other people who played important roles in the Telangana statehood movement. These include:

  • Students, who were at the forefront of the protests and demonstrations.
  • Trade unions, which provided support and resources to the movement.
  • Political parties, both regional and national, which lent their support to the cause of Telangana statehood.
  • The media, which played a vital role in raising awareness of the issue and putting pressure on the government to act.
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The most heroic youngsters are – Dasoju Srikantha Chary and K. Venugopal Reddy and police constable Kishtaiah, who died by suicide for the cause of a separate Telangana, are credited with igniting the second phase of the Telangana statehood agitation in 2009.

The movement, spearheaded by TRS president K. Chandrashekar Rao, intensified after the suicides and pushed the Centre into granting statehood to Telangana by bifurcating the then-united Andhra Pradesh.

As many as 369 activists laid down their lives in the first phase of the Telangana statehood agitation in 1969 and about 1,200 activists sacrificed their lives between 2001 and 2014. Most of the dead were youths and students, who sacrificed their education, careers and lives, whenever the agitation hit a low.

The movement for a separate Telangana was triggered on January 6, 1969, near Khammam railway station, with an indefinite hunger strike by one Ravindranath, who was protesting against the alleged illegal recruitment of non-local youths into the National Thermal Project at Palvoncha. It intensified with students coming onto the roads demanding that the state government implement the Gentlemen’s Agreement with regard to sharing with the Andhra region. As the then government tried to suppress the agitation with armed police forces, it turned violent and 369 students and youths were killed in several incidents of police firing.

The Indira Gandhi government at the Centre tried to slow down the agitation and succeeded in putting the matter to rest, but not indefinitely. The movement regained momentum with the launch of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in 2001 by Chandrashekar Rao, who led the agitation for 14 years and achieved statehood on June 2, 2014.

Srikantha Chary was the first to give his life in the renewed agitation, immolating himself. When Chandrashekar Rao was arrested on the morning of November 29, 2009, and prevented from sitting on a fast-unto-death, a disheartened Srikantha Chary went to the Dr B.R. Ambedkar statue at LB Nagar crossroads around noon, poured petrol and set himself ablaze shouting “Jai Telangana”.

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Within three days of Chary’s self-immolation attempt, a police constable in Nizamabad district, gave up his life on December 2, 2009, for the statehood cause.

Shooting himself with his service revolver atop a cell phone tower in Kamareddy demanding a separate Telangana, 37-year-old Kistaiah alleged bias towards Telangana natives in the united Andhra Pradesh. In a suicide note, Kistaiah wrote: “I am dying for the cause of separate Telangana. Drive people of Andhra from Telangana and fight for separate statehood.”

Chary, who had suffered 70 per cent burns, succumbed to his injuries on December 3, 2009, one day after Constable Kistaiah died.

Chary, 24, was a native of Podichedu in Mothkur mandal in Nalgonda district. He was a physiotherapy student and TRS youth wing office-bearer in LB Nagar in 2008.

Chary’s self-immolation and Kistaiah’s death intensified the agitation. Students, youths and activists hit the streets demanding statehood for Telangana. Violence broke out and Telangana came to a standstill, with bandhs and dharanas forcing the then UPA government at the Centre to make a statement on initiating the process for the formation of Telangana state on December 9, 2009, within a week of Chary’s death.

Kistaiah appealed to OU students not to stop their fight for separate statehood. “Telangana is more important than your studies. You get jobs only in a separate state. Fight for it,” he said in the letter.  Kistaiah was part of many encounters against Maoists and therefore was given a weapon. He was a native of Shivaipally in Bhiknoor mandal of Nizamabad district.

Sources said Kistaiah was also unhappy over being denied a promotion. Though his batchmates were promoted as head constables and assistant sub-inspectors, Kistaiah was not promoted and he suspected that being a ‘Telanganite’, he was marginalised.

The third to sacrifice his life was Venugopal Reddy, an MCA student, who set himself ablaze on the Osmania University campus on January 19, 2010. A suicide note left by Reddy said he was disappointed over the delay in the formation of the Telangana state and feared that it would not become a reality. He also appealed to Congress President Sonia Gandhi to help in the formation of a separate state.

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Reddy, a native of Nalgonda district, was a student at a private engineering college in the city.

Another student who gave his life was S. Yadaiah, who stated in a suicide note that the government was not responding to the statehood demand, as the agitation slowed after the appointment of the Sri Krishna Committee.

Yadaiah, just nineteen, set himself afire on the OU campus on February 21, 2010, shouting “Jai Telangana”. He was a native of Nagaram village in Ranga Reddy and was at OU to take part in the students’ agitation.

“People like me will get jobs if Telangana state is formed. I am giving life for Telangana and please don’t stop this movement till Telangana is achieved,” he said in the suicide note.

Following his death, various joint action committees called for an ‘Assembly Muttadi (laying siege to the Legislative Assembly)’ the next day, which turned violent as protesters clashed with the police.

A selfless struggle for one’s identity is Telangana Struggle and it spanned over many generations.1969 student leaders are proud to say they were the first torch bearers who carried the torch for the next generation to pick it up. They are the proud 1968, 1969 warriors of Telangana Movement. The first martyr of Telangana movement was a student named Shankar who hailed from Sadavashivapet, Medak District and died on June 24, 1969. Before someone shatters the history and forget the sacrifices of the 369 martyrs who were killed in police firing for the statehood of Telangana, #Khabarlive want to make this humble effort to bring this story to fore front. #hydnews #khabarlive

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A senior journalist having 25 years of experience in national and international publications and media houses across the globe in various positions. A multi-lingual personality with desk multi-tasking skills. He belongs to Hyderabad in India. Ahssanuddin's work is driven by his desire to create clarity, connection, and a shared sense of purpose through the power of the written word. His background as an writer informs his approach to writing. Years of analyzing text and building news means that adapting to a reporting voice, tone, and unique needs comes as second nature.