Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)
26 December 2013
Senior Telangana people’s leader Akula Bhoomaiah was brutally murdered by the state actors in Hyderabad on Tuesday night (24th of December) at 9:45 pm. Bhoomaiah was returning from the local Press Club at Basheerbagh after a book launch on Telangana when a mysterious Garbage Tipping Van of the Municipal Corporation waiting at Vidyanagar first hit his scooter dislodging him and then ran over him till he died. This was witnessed by the people who live in the vicinity. They then promptly caught the driver who was attempting to flee after ensuring Bhoomaiah’s death. On being taken to the nearby police station and after repeated enquiries by democratic rights activists, it became clear that he was neither the regular driver of that van and nor was he supposed to be in that job.
Perhaps, he was employed solely for the purpose of killing Bhoomaiah and to make it look like an accident. It is clear that not just was it no accident but was a premeditated act of murder of a man who was the President of the Telangana Praja Front (TPF). Akula Bhoomaiah was a longstanding leader of the teacher’s movement in Andhra Pradesh. In fact, he never limited himself to the teacher’s movement and actively participated in all social and revolutionary movements of the people in Telangana since the 1960s. As a student, he participated actively in the first phase of the separate Telangana movement in late 1960s. Why did the coastal Andhra ruling clique choose to assassinate Bhoomaiah now?
Bhoomaiah and his organization, the Telangana People’s Front, not just stood for the separation movement for the statehood of Telangana, but also for the people of all oppressed classes and communities including adivasis, strove for their equal share in land and resources and fought for their democratic rights along with their right to statehood. This is not a stand taken by any other political force in Telangana. Though Telangana People’s Front’s perspective is singularly and deeply democratic in nature, all ruling class parties of Telangana, including Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), failed to adopt this democratic stand despite sometimes working in alliance with the TPF. But it is the ruling class cliques and their exploitative leadership of the coastal Andhra region that have been deeply irked by the slogan of democratic Telangana.
Therefore, most leaders of the people’s organizations in Telangana have openly expressed that Bhoomaiah’s death is not an accident but a premeditated assassination planned and executed by the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema ruling clique. Akula Bhoomaiah was born in 1948 in the village of Kabapur in Pedapalli block of Karimnagar district of Telangana. When he was studying for his PUC, he was deeply inspired by the people’s movement for Telangana and participated in the first phase of the militant separate Telangana statehood movement in 1969-70. He organized the students of his college in Karimnagar as part of the ‘Andhra Go Back’ movement. He was arrested and sent to jail as part of this struggle. When the separate statehood movement was suppressed, his attention turned to the class struggle in Telangana and he studied Marxist philosophy.
He took up a job as a teacher in 1973 but was arrested soon after that in 1975 during the period of Emergency. When he came out of prison in 1977, he started organizing teachers in Panchayat Raj Teachers Union (PRTU) till 1983. After this, Andhra Pradesh Teachers Federation (APTF) was initiated in Telangana. Along with others, Bhoomaiah played a crucial role as a leader in building a strong and militant teacher’s movement in Telangana. Bhoomaiah was a voracious reader and a prolific writer. As a teacher and leader of the teacher’s movement that involved lakhs of teachers, he was well known as a friend, philosopher and guide to tens of thousands. He wrote numerous documents, articles, books and booklets in his 40 years of tireless struggle for the oppressed people of Telangana.
Through his in-depth study of the most backward regions of the state, he provided the correct direction and perspective to these movements. In December 1997, All India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF) organized a two-day convention and a massive rally and public meeting where more than half a million people from all districts of Telangana participated. That was the largest mobilization of people for Telangana and set the stage for the second phase of the separate statehood movement wherein the historic Warangal Declaration was passed by the people. The Warangal Declaration founded the concept of a democratic Telangana and defined the Telangana movement not merely as a regional movement but as a nationality movement notwithstanding the one language spoken across the regions of Andhra Pradesh.
Bhoomaiah participated and enriched the debate during the convention and public meeting and also took the spirit of the movement ahead and founded the Telangana Janasabha. From then on the Telangana Janasabha stood as the guiding star of the movement and brought it to its present stage, fighting all deviations brought in by various political parties. Bhoomaiah was elected as the convener of the Telangana Janasabha. He traveled across the ten districts of Telangana and built the Janasabha amidst the worst phases of repression faced by all the people’s organizations in Andhra Pradesh under the regime of Chandrababu Naidu.
At this time, Telangana cultural activists like Belli Lalita in Nalgonda district and Ravinder Reddy in Karimnagar were brutally murdered by the state government. The Chandrababu Naidu government forced an undeclared ban on the Telangana Janasabha by killing its activists like Kanakachari, who was Bhoomaiah’s fellow teacher and crusader for the statehood of Telangana, in Mahboobnagar district. In these circumstances, Bhoomaiah started a broad united front on Telangana called Telangana Aikya Karyacharana Committee (Telangana United Activities Committee). He wanted the support of the CPI (Maoist) in this movement. In this effort, two of the activists close to Bhoomaiah were killed in a fake encounter after being captured by the police while Bhoomaiah narrowly escaped.
In October 2010, along with Gaddar, Bhoomaiah forged Telangana Praja Front which has spearheaded the people’s movement for separate statehood of Telangana till date. The last four years have been a tumultuous period for the people of Telangana as it saw betrayal after betrayal by the all ruling class parties even as the whole of Telangana was turned into a battlefield and captured by the state police forces. It is during this crucial period that Telangana People’s Front played a crucial role under the leadership of Bhoomaiah thwarting every betrayal and awakening the people against all conspiracies and Chanakya like intrigues of the ruling parties to permanently suppress the idea of Telangana.
However, Bhoomaiah’s role as a leader, activist and thinker was not limited to Telangana. He played a crucial role in an all India anti-imperialist movement by joining all India fronts like anti-WTO forum called JAFIF – an anti-imperialist movement, Forum Against Imperialist Globalisation (FAIG) and later in Mumbai Resistance in 2004 and People’s Democratic Front of India. He traveled across many states and participated, guided and spoke in innumerous public meetings, seminars and struggles. In the last one decade, Bhoomaiah was under the shadow of threat of murder by the state forces. He received such threats and calls several times and was even kidnapped once from his Adikmet office of Telangana Janasabha.
Each time Bhoomaiah faced these state sponsored attacks, he boldly confronted them and even succeeded in evading attacks with deft tactics. This time, the marauding killers came in a la Latin American style in the shape of the city municipality garbage van driver. This is a new style increasingly followed in the last two decades to assassinate people’s leaders and activists by passing it off as accidental deaths or deaths by private actors. The remotest possible link in the chain was used to assassinate Bhoomaiah at a time when the state government ceased to function after the Central cabinets decision to form Telangana State.
All the ministers, including the Chief Minister, have stopped the business of governance and are now indulging in Mafia like elimination of the voices of the people to thwart the formation of the Telangana state. In the ensuing anarchy, the ruling class clique of politicians and bureaucrats of Coastal Andhra saw an opportunity to take everything into their own hands and have focused their targets on people’s leaders like Ganti Prasadam on the 4th of June and now Akula Bhoomaiah on 24th of December. Ganti Prasadam, our all India Vice-President who hailed from North Andhra – a region purposefully kept backward by the coastal Andhra comprador-feudal classes, was brutally killed by the same state forces who have now taken the life of Bhoomaiah as part of their effort to spread fear among the people and rake up the anti-Telangana movement.
It is no coincidence that within 6 months of Ganti Prasadam’s killing another people’s leader was assassinated at a time when the parameters – form and shape of politics is being decided for Telangana. It is a great loss for the people of Telangana that they have lost a leader who guided them throughout the second phase and the concluding period of the Telangana struggle. There are still many forces to be defeated and a long road ahead to realize the dream of democratic Telangana envisioned by the people over many decades. The assassination of Bhoomaiah is not only a loss for this vision of democratic Telangana, but for all revolutionary and democratic people everywhere in the subcontinent.