Separatists’ Assault on Freedom
Thank you to all those of you that expressed concern with regards to my safety. I would to take this opportunity to clarify some of the distortions that have been put out by several media houses in the last 24 hours.
I have been working on getting my book translated for over 3 months and the work on it has completed recently. I was originally planning to release before July 27th the Telugu version of my book titled “Mana Telugu Talli- Asatyala Punadula Pai Nirmithamaina Telangana Verpatuvaadam”. Friends have advised that I shouldn’t do given the prevailing tensions associated with the elections, and I heeded. Then I was again advised not to release when the election results are coming out given the prevailing tensions. I finally decided to release the book on August 2nd as I have been away from my wife and kids for an extended period and I was not willing to postpone my departure date yet again.
As a precautionary measure, I’ve requested for police protection and informed the police about my plans. They cautioned me to do the release on another day. I told them that the invitations have already been sent out and I can’t change the date. The event was held at the Press Club in Somajiguda. There were two doors to the room where the event was held- one in the front and another in the back. A.B.K. Prasad, K. Rajshekharam, Dara Sambaiah, C. Narasimha Rao, and C. Srinivas were the guests. First Narasimha Rao garu spoke, then A.B.K. Prasad garu released the book and started speaking.
As the speech was going on, a couple of people in the back started shouting slogans and tried to rush towards the dias. Venkateswarao garu, Punnam garu and others who came in our support stopped them from reaching me. While all this was going on, one of the protestors managed to come through the front door, and threw a book at A.B.K. Prasad garu, but it didn’t hit him. Then the same person tried to assault me. Punnam garu and Venkatewsarao garu standing near the dias immediately pounced on him. The protester at this point managed to throw the book at me with force, which landed straight on my head. I was slightly hurt, and one of the lens from my spectacles fell off.
There were about 5-7 protesters. After about five minutes of pushing and shoving, people who came in my support have managed to push them out of the room.
By then some of the guests have left the room to watch the unfolding scene outside. What happened outside has been for the most part captured on the cameras and has been aired on TV.
I told the people in the room that I intend to finish the book release function and refuse to leave without exercising my fundamental right to express my opinion. Someone in the audience went out and asked the guests to come back in. The press also came back into the room. We’ve all again sat on the stage and I talked about my book for about 10 minutes, then I condemned the assault on freedom of speech and how everyone should notice what has happened. I urged people to fight for their fundamental rights. After this Srinivas garu gave an inspiring speech and told how he respectfully disagreed with my position. At this point we ended the function.
The press people refused to leave and insisted that I give an interview. In the meantime one of my friends came in and told me that I am not obligated to give an interview as this is a book release function, and not a press meet. He suggested that I should leave immediately as the crowd is building outside. Punnam garu suggested that I take three questions and leave. That seemed like a decent compromise, but the press people protested saying that three is too few. I said that I will take three questions and that’s it. First question came from a journalist and he went on rambling for 5 minutes about how Nizam region suffered without asking the question. I interrupted him a couple of times to ask the question, but he wasn’t in a mood to ask, but tell. Then I moved on to a second journalist, and his question was- “meeru telangana dopidiki guri kaledu ani enduku antunnaru?”. At this point I realized that these journalists are not interested in an interview, but to drag me into an argument. I got up and left the room.
When I got out, an army of media people pounced on me. They didn’t let me go and started accusing me of all sorts of things imaginable. There were a group of 20-30 police, but they didn’t dare to rescue me. A lone police officer waded through the crowd, approached me and said I should leave right away for the sake of my safety. I told him that that is exactly what I am trying to do, but I am unable to find my car in the crowd. He said first get in my jeep and leave, we will find your car.
The press pounced on the police officer accusing him of interfering with freedom of press and hurled all sorts of regional insults at him. He said he was not helping me, but protecting me. They then shouted at him asking why then has he asked me to get in his jeep. At this point, the police officer backed off. I was again left to myself to find my car as the journalists continued to harass me. I eventually found my car, but the press people refused to let my car go and blocked it. I got in my car and shut the door. They forcibly opened the car door and would not let me close it. The police officer who tried to help me earlier, again came to my rescue. He pushed the people blocking my car aside, shut the door and asked us to leave immediately and we did.
This is what has happened on that eventful day. Contrary to the media reports, we in fact have finished the entire book release function and only then left the press club.
A couple of quick clarifications on some of the allegations.
- There has been a lot of noise about where I come from. I refuse to be identified by region, as I believe these divisions and regions have been created by invaders. I have never claimed myself to be a Telanganite, I’ve only said that my native place is Nalgonda. So, here is everything I know about my roots. I was born in Hyderabad. My father and mother were both born in Nalgonda district. My father was born in my native village near Nalgonda, while my mother was born in a village near Kodad. My paternal grand father and paternal grand mother (nayanamma) were also born in Nalgonda district. My great grand mother (my paternal grand father’s mother) came from a village in Guntur nearly hundred years ago. On the other hand, my nayanamma’s family is from a village near Miryalguda. Her father and forefathers were village patels and that tradition is continuing to this day. My nayanamma’s family members still act as village officers in their village near Miryalguda.
- A TV channel has been carrying a vicious campaign that I am promoting Samaikyandhra to protect my Rs. 300 crores assets in and around Hyderabad. I can categorically state that my assets are not even worth a fraction of that. On top of it, common sense dictates that if I really care about my assets, I should stay quiet and not stand up to fight.
Last few days events have only increased my resolve to fight against separatism with all my might- and this will not be the last time you will hear from me. The fight will go on.
Save Andhra Pradesh!
Congratulations for your resolve to defend the right to expression. This is not new. For people who care for their history it is not a surprise at all. it is a different matter that some people want a separate Telangana. But they should first respect the right of the other man to speak his opinion. Our poltical hierarchy has now come to such a pass that people are now, not only, unable to put up with opposing views, but have great intolerence,
A state is divided not on the aspirations of people (now or then, when it was actually divided from Madras province), but depending upon the political compulsions of the ruling parties. When the states were divided on the basis of language instead of riverine resources, people did not foresee to what extent politicians can demean themselvesto stir up passions.
Congress wants the credit for division. Another leader wants it to perpetuate his hierarchy. In th echaos of political power mongering, people scarcely remember the bond. It is altogether different if you want to ignore it, but you can’t deny that you have been born and brought up in a region and its language. When the family and parental relations are at the lowest ebb, it is not a surprise that one disowns his own language.
My sincere congratulations to you and my support for you.
Want to buy an read your book. Do not understand why people wont allow others that are opposed to their views to even express. Siva sena does it in Mumbai, but recently it seems to spread to other parts too.. Taslima Nasreen beaten up in Hyd, and now attack on your book release function.
Kudos for fearlessly stating your point.
I congratulate you for the courage you had exhibited. It takes tons of determination, patience, strength and above all unity of mind and heart to face the challenges. “Truth Alone Triumphs”
However, on a safety note, please be cautious because the mob mentality does not care for the fundamental rights or freedom of speech. It tries all means to suppress the opposition.
Good luck and May God bless you.
I would like to thank you for your stance and bold bid to counter this. I am sure I don’t have to say this, but want to mention it anyway. Please keep emphasizing on the facts and stay on course.
I’m glad you are alright.
These kind of events give me a feeling if that is the largest democracy or anarchy. Even the police showing such neglect is simply despicable. It shows how much partisan politics have gone into various aspects of the society – to the extent of denying people’s fundamental rights.
Your brave efforts are greatly appreciated.
You are a brave man. You have all the support I can muster.
I have an objection to your calling those activists ‘journalists.’ They are activists and thugs who either got sold out for money or chickens out to do their duty. These gangsters will not stop at anything. To yield to them is cowardice.