Hyderabad, Aug 24 (IANS) With the demand for statehood to the Telangana region back at the centrestage of Andhra Pradesh - and national - politics, Muslim groups here have come forward to say they are opposed to the bifurcation of the state.
The Muslim United Forum (MUF), an amalgamation of about a dozen political, religious and social groups, has made it clear that it was for a united Andhra Pradesh.
Fearing sharp communal polarisation in the event of the Telangana region getting statehood, the leaders of the forum said the state should not be bifurcated.
A delegation of the forum led by prominent religious scholar Moulana Hameeduddin Auqil Hussami met Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy to convey that the Muslim viewpoint on the issue could not be ignored.
As the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is dominated by leaders with the background of rightwing Hindu groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the forum fears that Muslims could feel insecure in a separate state.
Narendra, who holds number two position in TRS and who resigned as union minister along with party chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao Tuesday, had quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to join the sub-regional party.
He, however, still continues his association with RSS and some Muslim groups blame him for communal riots in Hyderabad in the past.
State capital Hyderabad is the most prominent city of the backward Telangana region and the TRS has already made it clear that there could be no Telangana state without the city.
The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which is a part of MUF and has five legislators and one MP from Hyderabad, is for union territory status to the city if a separate Telangana state becomes inevitable.
"Give us our Hyderabad back," MIM President Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi remarked during the meeting with the chief minister. Owaisi, who represented Hyderabad in Lok Sabha for two decades, was obviously referring to Muslim rule on this 400-year city.
Muslims constitute about 40 percent of the four million population of Hyderabad. Their population in nine other districts of the region range between eight to 15 percent.
According to the 2001 census, Muslims constitute 9.2 percent of Andhra Pradesh's total population of 76 million.
A large number of people from coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions are settled in Hyderabad and they are also against separate Telangana.
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