After many false starts the Telangana 'Rail Roko' got off the rails yesterday - I mean the trains were off rails, mostly, and the agitation, got on rails. For some vague reasons the 3 day 'Rail Roko' was postponed a couple of days first, and then a couple more. Allegations flew that the 'Rail Roko' organisers stayed off the agitation because they were in cahoots with the BCCI and were paid some crores as hush money. Raises a legitimate question. Wonder why the agitators did not disrupt the cricket match as it would have got them world wide attention. That is what some of our other separatist organisers normally do - dig up the pitch or threaten to disrupt the match - everyone will sit up and ask why across the world. But no, the match went on peacefully. It appears that the Telangana agitators or rather their leadership are keen that all forms of entertainment and other unproductive activities can go on. What must be shut down is the productive sector - education sector, industry (with power cuts), trains, buses, autos and so on. I fail to understand this strategy as they will inherit all this if they do get their demands.
What was most intriguing was the sequence of events that happened. Firstly the state government woke up from its MONTH LONG slumber and realised that it must do something. They decided to run the trains with police protection. Second the Telangana protestors, including several people in power - Ministers, MPs - and such tried to stop the trains by squatting on the rails. Third, the police arrested the people - Ministers and all. Fourth, a hurt Telangana leadership called off the 'Rail Roko' (what is it with this 'Rail Roko cat and mouse I fail to understand) and instead decided to call for a bandh tomorrow. The reason - police arresting the Ministers and others who stopped the trains.
Now, if you and I stopped trains I have no doubt what would happen to us. We'd be locked up certainly under several criminal cases. If elected representatives go and stop the train, they should be dealt with even more severely because it is such an irresponsible way of registering protest. It causes inconvenience to the people, causes loss to the government exchequer and obstructs the dictat of the very government of which they are part of. Why anyone would want to protest such an irresponsible act, which these people in power have committed knowing fully well that they are breaking the law, is anyone's guess. Why should all business establishments, schools and colleges and general life stop to protest this behavior?
I am not sure what and where this is leading but as always I would like the Telangana movement to show this - a movement arising from the people that is not provoked by these few leaders with false stories and promises, responsible behavior from the people in power to press forward their case without inconveniencing the general public and most importantly, sacrifices that are evident for the leaders who have so far not sacrificed anything. If you need to be anti-social and radical in your quest, please do so. But resign first and then do so as a common man. You have every right to protest and demand.
Meanwhile we gear up to the bandh tomorrow in Telangana to protest the arrest of our elected leaders who have gone to obstruct the railways and who are fighting against our state police and putting us, the electorate in all sorts of trouble. I wonder if such things happen in other parts of the world!