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Srikrishna panel on Telangana begins work in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, March 4 (IANS) On its maiden visit to Hyderabad, the Srikrishna Committee, looking into demands for and views against a separate Telangana state, faced protests by pro-Telangana groups but promised to take all groups along.

The five-member committee headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna began its work Thursday evening with an informal discussion with leaders of recognised political parties at a dinner hosted by Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), ruling Congress party’s state president D.Srinivas and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao were among the key leaders who attended the dinner.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Bandaru Dattatreya, Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) chief K. Chiranjeevi, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi, Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary K. Narayana and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader B.V. Raghavulu were also present.

Earlier, Srikrishna told reporters that it was only an informal meeting. The two-day visit by a five-member committee is aimed to review the arrangements for consultations with political parties and other groups here.

Srikrishna, who had to face protests by pro-Telangana lawyers and activists on his arrival at the airport and also at the Lake View guest house, assured to take every party and group along. ‘I hope that those who are opposing us today will come to us tomorrow to express their opinion,’ he said, adding that nobody should doubt the committee’s sincerity and impartiality.

His remarks came a day after the TRS, whose legislators resigned last month to protest terms of reference of the committee, decided to make a representation to the panel.

The retired Supreme Court justice said the committee was keen to take the common man’s view in Telangana and other regions of the state. It hopes to complete the process of consultations with political parties and various groups by July 31 and submit its report before Dec 31, the term fixed by the central government, he said.

When pointed out that major parties were divided on the issue along regional lines and had more than one opinion on the issue, Srikrishna said the committee was ready to hear any number of opinions from each party.

The committee’s member secretary V.K. Duggal said they were receiving an average of 50 memorandums from individuals and groups every day.

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