Hyderabad, Sep 17 (IANS) Political parties in Telangana hoisted the national flag at their offices to mark 'Hyderabad Merger Day' on Thursday and paid tributes to the freedom fighters who fought for the merger of erstwhile Hyderabad state with the Indian Union.
While the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Opposition Congress and other parties celebrated the occasion as 'Hyderabad Merger Day', the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) commemorated it as 'Telangana Liberation Day'.
It was on this day in 1948 that the princely state of Hyderabad merged with the Indian Union following "police action", as the Indian military operation against the Nizam's army is popularly called.
The celebrations at Telangana Bhavan, the TRS headquarters, were led by the party's Working President and Minister K. T. Rama Rao. He hoisted the national flag and garlanded the statues of 'Telugu Talli' and Telangana ideologue Professor Jayashankar.
Ministers Mohammed Mehmood Ali, P. Ajay and TRS leaders participated in the programme while following Covid-19 precautions.
'Telangana Merger Day' was also celebrated at Gandhi Bhavan, the headquarters of the Congress party. State Congress Chief Uttam Kumar Reddy unfurled the national flag.
He said Hyderabad merged with India, thanks to the efforts of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He claimed that only the Congress and the Communists fought for Hyderabad state's merger with India.
The BJP and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had nothing to do with the merger, he added. The Congress leader said it was unfortunate that a communal colour was being given to the historic struggle.
The fight against the Nizam had nothing to do with religion but by linking it with religion, these parties were trying to distort history, the Congress leader added.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) also celebrated 'Telangana Merger Day' with their leaders hoisting the national flag.
The BJP celebrated 'Telangana Liberation Day' with the hoisting of the national flag at the party office by its leader K. Laxman. He said the party would continue its fight till the state government accepts the demand to officially celebrate the day.
"It was on this day that Telangana achieved real freedom and hence, it should be celebrated officially," he added.
Another BJP leader Ramachandra Rao alleged that the TRS government was not celebrating the day officially due to pressure from the AIMIM.
Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy hoisted the national flag at his residence in New Delhi. He said the official celebration of 'Telangana Liberation Day' will be the real tribute to all those who laid down their lives for the independence of Hyderabad state.
"While India got its Independence on August 15, 1947, the then Hyderabad state ruled by the Nizam acceded to the Indian Union only on September 17, 1948. A people's movement against the Nizam and his Razakar army bore fruit when Sardar Patel launched 'Operation Polo' (police action). On September 17, people across Telangana and parts of modern day Marathwada and Karnataka celebrate a second Independence Day," Kishan Reddy added.
The BJP has been demanding for the last two decades that the day be officially celebrated like in some districts of Maharashtra and Karnataka which were part of Hyderabad state.
Like the previous governments in undivided Andhra Pradesh, the TRS government in Telangana has rejected demands for officially celebrating the day. The TRS leaders accused the BJP of indulging in "divisive politics".
Muslim groups have been opposing any celebrations as they say that Muslims were massacred during the "police action".
The AIMIM maintains that there is only one Independence Day for the entire country and hence, there was no need for separate celebrations in Telangana.