Telangana echo in neighbouring H-K

The struggle for special status is being renewed with the HKCCI taking up the cause

 
However, there are signs of agitation picking up in the days to come for the extension of the benefit of Article 371 of the Constitution for the backward region of the State. The struggle to seek special status for the region is being renewed with the Hyderabad-Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HKCCI) along with other organisations of the region, including the Hyderabad-Karnataka Horata Samithi (HKHS).

Article 371 of the Constitution provides for the protection of distinctive identities requiring special provision, notably the protection of Customary Laws and distinctive religious or social practices. Originally amended to provide local interests in Telangana, such protection has been extended to Sikkim, Nagaland (371A), Manipur (371C) and Mizoram (371G).

The campaign for applying Article 371 to north Karnataka districts is in the formative stage. The HKCCI has already observed Gulbarga bandh and has vowed to continue the agitation till their demand was met. The HKCCI  had planned to take a delegation of leaders of the region including the two Congress stalwarts - Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and MP Dharam Singh to Delhi to meet the central leaders in the first week of this month, but the trip was postponed as the leaders are preoccupied elections to the State Legislative Council from the local authorities constituencies.

The HKHS led by former minister and senior leader Vaijanath Patil had been in the forefront of the agitation for a separate State by observing Karnataka Rajyotsava as black day and hoisting the separate state flag. However, having found no supporters for the cause, Patil had to scale down his aspirations to demanding application of Article 371 to region seeking special legislative measures for the protection of interests of local students and youth in education and employment.

From the historical and political point of view, the H-K region which along with the eight districts of Telangana was the part of the erstwhile Nizam province before independence has more relevance vis-a-vis formation of new State for Telangana. Like Telangana the H-K region has remained miserably backward and has remained the main hindrance in the improvement of the human development index of the State. The irony is that although the Telangana was given the benefit of Article 371 (D) envisaging pursuance of ‘sons of soil’ policy in education and employment, the demand for separate State constantly remained alive from the last six decades.

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