The ensuing political turbulence in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which is to be divided into two territories following a decision taken by the federal government in New Delhi, has found echo in the Kingdom, with expats from the capital Hyderabad demanding that the city be accorded Union Territory status.
Hyderabad has been a subject of contention ever since the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government took a decision to carve out a separate Telangana state. The state has been in turmoil, with anti-division sentiment taking a serious turn in the coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions in the past couple of months.
Apart from being a historic city earlier ruled by the Nizams, India’s sixth biggest city is also home to several major information technology and pharmaceutical companies. According to the Union Cabinet decision, Hyderabad will serve as the joint capital of the two states for a period of 10 years.
Hyderabadi expatriates living in the Kingdom have expressed unhappiness at the idea since they believe Hyderabad to be a cosmopolitan city like Delhi and Mumbai and not the property of any one region. The historic city, many of the expats said, should therefore be declared a Union Territory.
Tanzeem Hum Hindustani, a Hyderabad-based voluntary organization, has been vocal in its opposition of a joint capital for 10 years.
Mohammed Quaiser, president of the Tanzeem, told Arab News that Hyderabad should be a Union Territory with special status, as enjoyed by Delhi.
“In order to protect the dated heritage, culture and civilization of the historic city, Hyderabad should be under central governance,” he said, adding “Telangana or coastal Andhra will definitely spoil the historic name of Hyderabad. Hyderabadis will initiate a ‘Hyderabad Bachao Aabhiyan’ (Save Hyderabad) campaign.” Azeem Ullah Quadri, a Hyderabadi sales manager in Riyadh, said: “Hyderabad belongs to Indians and it has now become an international city in terms of commercial activity. Residents from all parts of the country and visitors from across the world have come to the historic city.”
Recalling Saudi Arabia’s “strong affiliation with the Nizam of Hyderabad,” he said, “It should be a Union Territory instead of being reduced to a mere regional city in order to maintain its historic value.”
Naseem Ahmad, another expatriate from the city working in the Kingdom, has expressed his anxiety at the decision.
“I am not in favor of Hyderabad being a joint capital, even for 10 years. It should be declared a Union Territory like Chandigarh and Delhi.”
Mohammad Wasif, a PR executive, blamed the government for indulging in politics for the sake of vote bank politics. “The decision was uncalled for and unwarranted,” he said.