BJP’s Telangana manifesto: Revising history, deporting illegal immigrants, banning cow slaughter

Released on November 18, it contains many promises with communal overtones.

Amit Shah during the release of the BJP manifesto in Hyderabad.

With “resetting the narrative of Telangana's history” as one of its key agendas, the BJP’s manifesto for the upcoming Assembly elections says that August 27, the date of the Bairanpally massacre, will be officially marked as Razakar Horrors Remembrance Day. 

Nearly 100 people were killed in the violent massacre in 1948 by Razakars, a private militia backed by the Nizam. The massacre happened in the midst of the Telangana armed struggle, an uprising of peasants against the oppression of dominant caste landlords under the Nizam rule. 

Releasing the manifesto in Hyderabad on November 18, Union Minister Amit Shah also reiterated the party’s stand on celebrating the date of Hyderabad state’s annexation, September 17, as Hyderabad Liberation Day, “to remind younger generations of the state’s liberation from the Nizams’ cruel clutches.”

“We will celebrate the Razakar Vibhishika Smriti Din on August 27 to honour the people of Telangana who fought bravely against the Razakars,” he said, while also promising to set up a museum and memorial after documenting “Telangana peoples’ struggle against the Nizam and Razakars.”   

The BJP is accused of trying to communalise Telangana’s complicated history by often comparing the present-day All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Bharat Rashtra Samithi to Nizams and Razakars, and framing the Telangana armed struggle as primarily a communal conflict. 

It also promises to deport all Rohingyas and illegal immigrants and prevent “misuse” of Aadhaar and passports. The BJP also wants to bring in an “anti-radicalisation cell to identify and eliminate potential threats, and sleeper cells of terrorist organisations and anti-India forces.” “Police stations where there have been instances of radicalization in the past will be operated by specially trained personnel,” the manifesto says. 

In Karnataka too, the BJP’s 2023 manifesto had promised a similar special police wing called the Karnataka State Wing against Religious Fundamentalism and Terror, or K-SWIFT, when the party was vying to return to power but lost to Congress in the Assembly elections held in May this year. It had also promised to introduce the National Register of Citizens in Karnataka for “speedy deportation of all illegal immigrants in the state.”

The BJP in Telangana also wants to control “targeted grooming” by “creating robust mechanisms at a community level both in villages and cities”. 

“The perpetrators of grooming will be meted out with severe punishment,” the manifesto says. While it is unclear what the party exactly means by”‘grooming” – a term often used in the context of child sexual abuse wherein abusers carefully establish a trusting, emotional bond with a child. However, the BJP’s proposal of ‘community-level mechanisms’ is reminiscent of the party’s playbook of harassing interfaith couples in other states such as Karnataka, through wide networks of informers who keep tabs on whom young people, especially Hindu women, are socialising with. 

The manifesto also promises a complete ban on cow slaughter, along with a law similar to the controversial Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020, wherein convicts could attract punishment with three to seven years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh per cattle. The Karnataka law has been heavily criticised for affecting the income of many small farmers, leather workers and people working in meat export industries, and also for enabling cow vigilantes to harass cattle traders. 

The Telangana BJP manifesto also promises to set up a committee to implement Uniform Civil Code in the state. 

Earlier in the day, Amit Shah told voters that if the party wins in Telangana, they will get to visit the Ayodhya Ram Mandir free of cost. He made the statement while addressing an election rally in Gadwal. The manifesto also promises free pilgrimages to Ayodhya and Varanasi to elderly persons. 

The manifesto, which lists 25 guarantees, also promises to scrap the Telangana government’s provision of 4% reservation to Muslims from socially and economically backward sections. This too has been an often repeated plank of the BJP, while terming religion-based reservation ‘unconstitutional’. These reservations will instead be provided to OBCs, SCs and STs in proportion to their population, the manifesto says.

This report has been published as part of the joint NL-TNM Election Fund and is supported by hundreds of readers.Click here to power our ground reports.

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