Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to take out a seven-day yatra in Telangana to press for the adoption of 17 September as the state’s liberation day, stoking fears of religious polarization.

The party wants the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government to celebrate 17 September, the day in 1948 when the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad (ruled by the Nizam) was annexed to India after a military operation.

BJP’s Telangana president and Musheerabad MLA K. Laxman said that the yatra will start on 1 September and will be held across different districts in the state. Union home minister Rajnath Singh will attend the event’s concluding day at Nizamabad district, he added.

The 1948 army operation was ordered by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru after the local Hindu population was terrorized by the extremist Razakar militia.

“We have been demanding this right from 1997-98 onwards and it is nothing new," Laxman told reporters on Wednesday, adding, “All political parties should come forward and discuss this."

Anuradha Reddy, state co-convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), born in the erstwhile Hyderabad state in 1947, said that the BJP’s demand for “celebration with a political agenda" may disturb the peace and harmony of the state and is questionable.

“Whether it is liberation or not is debatable. We are proud Indian nationals and celebrate Independence Day and other occasions. But 17 September 1948, was not a date that was celebrated earlier and what would be the outcome of such an event is questionable. There are so many historic aspects concerning this date which have not been fully discussed. The debate should be between people who lived through that time," she added.

A political analyst, not wanting to be named, said that the issue of celebrating ‘liberation day’ can rake up communal tension, as it may be made to look like a Hindu-Muslim issue.