Political Unrest in Andhra Pradesh
The UC Irvine chapter arrived at our village of Hasnapur, Andhra Pradesh in December 2012 welcomed by the sturdy hands of the workers and the smiling faces of the children; and we came back home filled with an eagerness to return to further our goals and strengthen our established relationships with the villagers. We had many goals for Hasnapur, with our lead initiative being the Liter of Light, a revolutionary light source for the homes. However, as we planned out our next trip, an unexpected barrier appeared.
Since December 2009, a people’s movement called the Samaikyandhra Movement emerged out of disapproval of Telangana statehood. Telangana is a region in Andhra Pradesh that, for years now, has been fighting to become a separate state with 10 regions. Issues between political parties have caused protests that have become violent. Because of the turbulent nature of these riots, Andhra Pradesh has become an unsafe area; the Chief Minister has put a curfew on some of the cities (including Hyderabad) because the Samaikyandhra advocates have been on strike. Trains have been cancelled because electricity employees refuse to work, women have been sitting on railroad tracks and have been refusing to eat, and cars have been hijacked as travelers pass through villages.
One of the street riots that erupted in violence in cities of Andhra Pradesh
Our village, Hasnapur, is located two hours away from Hydrabad, which is one of the 10 districts in Telangana. The Chief Minister has closed off all access out of certain villages in Andhra Pradesh as a part of the curfew, thus we as a Project RISHI chapter will be put at high risk if we enter our village. Due to the dangerous and lengthy nature of this statehood process, we must find another village to adopt and work with. Although disappointed, we are in no way disheartened and look forward to our Summer 2014 research trip, in which we will visit different villages and choose one that will benefit most from our help. We hope that in the future Project RISHI can return to Hasnapur when our help will be most advantageous to them. For now, we know that we will be able to put all our efforts into our new village and look forward to doing so.
Contributors: Sharon Thomas and Saranya Sampath
Originally published at www.projectrishi.org.