Hyderabad: Thirteen civil society and rights’ organisations have given the joint call to organise a ‘Telangana People's Assembly’ between September 4 and 6 to discuss people’s issues and put forward a set of demands to the state government, ahead of the Telangana Assembly’s monsoon session.
“Since the formation of Telangana in 2014, the manner in which the state’s Assembly or Council sessions have been happening has been disappointing as majority of the people’s issues are sidelined and the opposition parties were limited to stifled voices,” said the press release by the group of organisations, which include: Rythu Swarajya Vedika, National Alliance for Peoples Movements, Mahila Rythula Hakkula Vedika, Dalit Bahujan Front, Human Rights Forum, Telangana Progressive Teachers Federation, Telangana Vidyavantula Vedika, Telangana Vyavasaya Vrithidarula Vedika, Caring Citizens Collective, Palamuru Adhyana Vedika, Telangana Gruha Karmikula Union, Campaign for Housing and Tenurial Rights and All India Parents Association.
The 13 organisations have been raising their voices independently in the state. They have come together to organise the Telangana People’s Assembly, and will demand for democratic governance amid a deepening economic crisis and given the pandemic, said Kanneganti Ravi, Secretary of the Rythu Swarjya Vedika. He argued that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government, under Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, has been taking unilateral decisions which fail to address people’s issues.
“As the economic crisis in the country has intensified in the last few years, in Telangana, poor and vulnerable sections of people such as marginal and small farmers, tenant farmers, agricultural labourers, unorganised sector workers, migrant workers, women, transgender persons and students are most affected due to various forms of financial distress. Unemployment has been rising, public sector entities are going bankrupt, violence on Dalits, Adivasis, Women and transgenders has been increasing, many activists are being wrongly framed in false cases and with the massive spread of COVID-19 in rural and urban areas, poor people and those from the middle class are bearing the brunt of the health crisis,” said the joint statement by the organisations.
Representatives of NGOs and numerous civil society organisations, activists and common people will be participating in the people’s assembly. On the basis of their discussions, a charter of demands will be prepared and circulated among the legislators, said Kondal Reddy of the Rythu Swarajya Vedika.
The discussions will be held online as there are restrictions due to the pandemic, the organisers noted. “We want the government to address the demands that emerge from the People’s Assembly,” said Ravi, adding that the organisations will lead a united movement raising people’s issues.
The monsoon session of the Telangana state legislative Assembly will commence from September 7.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 data from the state indicates that the health crisis is far from over. As of August 30, the state has reported 1,873 new COVID-19 cases, increasing the total number of reported cases to 1,24, 963, with the death toll in the state at 827, according to the state’s health department.
In the last few months, the state government has been questioned by experts, trade unions and even the high court on the credibility of the COVID-19 data presented in media bulletins. As COVID-19 cases are spread across all districts in the state, observers estimate that over 70% of villages in the state have reported cases.