News / Asia

Protests, Power Cuts Shut Down Indian State

Supporters of ‘United Andhra Pradesh’ shout slogans during a protest at Karnool district in Andhra Pradesh state, India, Oct. 7, 2013.
Supporters of ‘United Andhra Pradesh’ shout slogans during a protest at Karnool district in Andhra Pradesh state, India, Oct. 7, 2013.
Aru Pande
Protests and power cuts have shut down a key state in southern India.  Demonstrators are criticizing the government's move to allow the creation of a new state out of the Andhra Pradesh, whose state capital is home to several major international companies. 
 
Andhra Pradesh remains tense as demonstrations enter their fourth day.
 
Hours before, protesters, who do not want to see the creation of a new Telangana state, took to the streets in coastal cities, defying shoot-at-sight orders to clash with police armed with rubber bullets.
 
Tens of thousands of electricity department workers are continuing their strike, crippling power and train service on Monday.
 
In the Indian capital, the head of the Telegu Desam Party, former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has begun an indefinite fast against the ruling Congress Party and last week’s Cabinet decision to create India’s 29th state.
 
“If you see the Congress Party, the way they have behaved for the last 70 days, the common man has lost confidence on the government.  Not only the government, even on political parties also," Naidu said. "Today there is a stand still, no confidence.”
 
The issue is not new.  Demands for a separate state called Telangana have been going on since India’s independence in 1947, with residents of 10 of 23 of Andhra Pradesh’s districts saying they have been neglected by the state government, with jobs, infrastructure and economic prosperity mostly going to those living in the coastal region.
 
Critics say a new Telangana state will be a disaster, with Hyderabad becoming a shared state capital for the next 10 years.  The booming city is home to several multinational companies and is quickly becoming a hub for Indian “start-up” firms.
 
Other people simply do not want to see a divided state and wonder who will be next.  India is already home to several distinct cultures and languages and is divided for the most part, along those lines.  Three new states, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh, were created in 2000.  And similar demands for statehood are being seen in the eastern Indian states of Assam and West Bengal.
 
A senior fellow at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, Satish Misra, says in many cases people believe the formation of a new state is the only way to deal with a general lack of governance in their state.

“Improve governance, that includes the removal of corruption, that includes attending to their day-to-day problems, attending to their basic demands, all these things have to be met,” Misra stated.
 
Misra said, while supporters of Telangana have a strong case, he questions the way the government has decided to move forward with the issue.  The political analyst says a second state reorganization commission should be created with various parameters, for example, whether a new state should be created for language or for better governance.
 
“That can only be tackled by a commission that goes deep into the problems and projects solutions," said Misra. "Not this entire “fire-fighting” approach that has been prevalent in the last 20 years or so. In my opinion, it is very dangerous.”
 
With just months before national elections in India, opponents of Telangana say the Congress Party’s decision to divide Andhra Pradesh is tied to winning support in the polls next year.
 
Telangana is not a done deal.  The state assembly must sign off on a resolution for a new state, which then goes to India’s parliament for approval.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs