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

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs