India creates new state; demand rises for more states

A pro-Telangana supporter listens to a speaker

A pro-Telangana supporter listens to a speaker during a protest in New Delhi, India, on 28 November 2011. File photo/Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Tibet Sun newsroom

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 31 July 2013

A day after India’s ruling Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance coalition unanimously agreed to the formation of Telangana state, which will be carved out from Andhra Pradesh in South India, demands for separate states from other parts of the country have intensified.

Telangana will be India’s 29th state, with Hyderabad shared with Andhra Pradesh as the common capital for 10 years. The movement for a separate Telangana state has been going on for decades.

Since the decision to bifurcate Andra Pradesh, demands for formation of smaller states have risen from many parts of India — Bodoland in Assam, Mithila in Bihar, Gorkhaland in West Bengal, Coorg in Karnataka, Jammu in Jammu and Kashmir, Vidarbha in Maharashtra, and Harit Pradesh, Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal in Uttar Pradesh.

S Ramadoss, a chief of the PattaliMakkalKatchi (PMK) political party from Tamil Nadu in South India, said there were demands to create 22 more states in the country and the central government should consider reasonable demands.

According to a PTI report, intensifying their demand for Bodoland, a delegation of Bodo leaders today met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and urged him to take urgent steps for creation of the new state, bifurcating Assam as in the case of Telangana.

Led by Bodoland People’s Front chief Hagrama Mohilary, the delegation told the Home Minister that their demand for a separate Bodoland state was one of the oldest in the country.

PTI also reports that an indefinite strike has been called in the Darjeeling Hills by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) from Saturday to press its demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, a day after separation of Telangana was announced.

“If there can be a Telangana state then why not a Gorkhaland? We are demanding that our 107-year-old legitimate demand (for a separate state) be fulfilled,” GJM general secretary and spokesman Roshan Giri told reporters after a party core committee meeting on Wednesday.

“Darjeeling was never in West Bengal. It was under Sikkim and Bhutan in pre-independence India. Therefore, there is no question of division of Bengal,” he said.

Politicians from both Congress and BJP have supported a separate Vidarbha state from Maharashtra. Congress MP from Nagpur Vilas Muttemwar has asked Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to consider a separate state for Vidarbha with Nagpur as its capital. However, the regional party Shiv Sena said it was against any attempts to divide the state.

Members of Shiv Sena in Jammu has called for the division of Jammu & Kashmir. Scores of Shiv Sena activists protested in Jammu on Wednesday to press their demand to create a separate state by bifurcating Jammu & Kashmir.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati called for splitting the state into four parts — Harit Pradesh, Poorvanchal, Bundelkhand and Madhya Uttar Pradesh.

There are also calls for a separate state called Kongu Nadu from Tamil Nadu, with Coimbatore as its capital.

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