TG Venkatesh, an extremist Arya Vysya leader, held a press conference on Tuesday (September 18) in a luxury hotel in Hyderabad with an extremist, conspiratorial Arya Vysya team and declared a ‘fatwa’ on me that he would kill me or hang me on the streets as they do in the Middle East. This person is an MP from the TDP and supposed be the richest man after Gandi Madhava Rao (GMR) from that community in the two Telugu-speaking states. Can a Member of Parliament (MP) who issued a death ‘fatwa’ against a citizen—that too a globally known writer and thinker—continue in the Parliament as a member? It is for the BJP and TDP to decide.
The myth that the Arya Vysya community is a peace loving non-violent community proved to be wrong. This is clear from the violent statements that their leaders are issuing. It is also clear from their abusive and vulgar behaviour on the streets from village to cities up to the state capitals of Amaravati and Hyderabad. They are indulging in vandalism. Both the states are allowing them a free hand to the point of creating a law and order situation. They seem to have no respect for the judiciary too.
They are the most organised caste in India with 46 per cent of the total wealth and 48 per cent of the company directors in their hands. The Ambani Group, Adani group, Laxmi Mittal Group, Vedanta and so on are part of this community. This is the only community that has a bank called Vysya Bank in their caste name in India.
For writing a chapter in my book called Post-Hindu India with a title called Social Smugglers, a concept I coined to capture caste, cultural and economic exploitation in India, and translating it into Telugu, they are attacking me. I have been fighting for reservation in the private sector for long time as there are no jobs in the state sector at all. We are now demanding, in the T-MASS (Telangana all peoples) meetings, an organisation formed three months ago, jobs for all the kith and kin of the lowest level soldiers serving on the borders of Pakistan and China and also in the internal security sectors, at least one job for each such family in their firms as a token of their nationalism. At least one per cent of their total profit should be kept for farmers’ funds to help dying farmers across the country. This is necessary because the states are also not in a position to protect them for paucity of funds as they themselves are saying. Farmer suicides are taking place all over India. This is part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
For this, issuing a Middle East-type ‘fatwa’ by the MP with backing of the ruling establishments both at the state and the national level is a dangerous trend for the nation. This ‘fatwa’ is issued under the nose of the Telangana government in the state where I am living. The government is silent, giving an impression of complicity. For the last 10 days, from September 10, 2017, till date, my phone gets organised phone calls with abuses and vulgar SMSes. This is only to make me mad. Everyone knows that Airtel and Reliance companies are in their hands.
If an intellectual, who stands by the Dalit, Bahujans and the poor, and asks for some jobs in private companies, gets threats of being killed and hanged on the streets of India from one of the richest persons and an MP, the country, its very democracy and Freedom of Speech that the Constitution has guaranteed will be in real danger. Perhaps, I may be the first person to die like that.
In Andhra Pradesh, Errachandanam (Red Sandalwood) is being smuggled without a trace of the smugglers. Who knows, may be TG Venkatesh could be behind it. Who knows, he may be behind Gauri Lankesh and Kalburgi’s shooting down. Who knows, the murderers could be hiding in the massive mansions he owns in Kurnool (AP) and in Hyderabad. Who will investigate when both the state government and the Centre are behind him?
Based on this ‘fatwa’, I can seek asylum in any country. But I am a nationalist with reverence to Buddha and Ambedkar. I would like to live and die here only. I hope the nation responds. Though filing a case seems to have no effect but I will file a case in the local police station on this fatwa soon.
KANCHA ILAIAH SHEPHERD
Member, T-MASS (Telangana Masses)
Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is the director at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad