Muslims in Hyderabad, who constitute 41 per cent of the population in the metropolis, do not want a separate state of Telangana to be created, the Srikrishna Panel said noting that they would feel more secure in the larger state of united Andhra Pradesh.
However, their community members in rest of the Telangana region are in favour of carving out a separate state from Andhra Pradesh as they feel they have remained backward in a united state and will have more access to educational and employment if a separate state is formed.
"Expectation of an increase in reservation benefits (to 12 per cent) in the new state is one of the major reasons for their demand for separation," the Committee said in its 461-page report.
Currently, Muslims in Andhra Pradesh receive four per cent reservation benefits under the OBC (E) category.
In united Andhra Pradesh, Muslims have grievances like lack of jobs, non-implementation of Urdu as the second language, lack of Urdu teachers and funds for Urdu medium schools and absence of scholarships for minorities and the loss of waqf lands, the report said.
It said Muslims have told the panel that there is no communal or cultural divide between Hindus and Muslims in Telangana and they can live in harmony in a separate state.
Contrary to public perception, the report noted that according to Muslims, Telangana will not be unsafe for minorities.
"During field visits, however, a more nuanced viewpoint came out with people being unsure of the benefits of a separate state and articulating some apprehensions about their security in a separate Telangana," the committee said.
Muslims in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions favour a united state. They believe that they should live together and share the resources of the state equitably, the report said.
Talking about Muslims in Hyderabad, the report says most Muslims of the city identify with the AIMIM as their political representative. They identify primarily with the city and not necessarily with the region of Telangana.
"Muslims (in Hyderabad) would feel more secure in the larger state," it said in its analysis.
"Most of them reside in the old city and do not speak Telugu. Residents of Muslims mohallas were found to be the most disengaged from the Telangana issue.
"However, the concentration of Muslims in Hyderabad and their homogeneous distribution in Rayalaseema districts can explain their preferences which are mainly articulated by political groups and in Hyderabad city by the party," the panel said.
The report said the AIMIM prefers united Andhra to Telangana state. In case of an inevitable separation, a Rayala-Telangana state is preferred with Hyderabad as the capital.
In a Telangana state, the Muslim population would account for about 12.5 per cent, but when Hyderabad is excluded, this goes down to 8.4 per cent.
In a Rayala-Telangana state, Muslims would remain with similar strength at about 12.5 per cent, whereas in United Andhra, Muslims are just above 9 per cent.
"A separate Telangana state could expose them to communally sensitive Hyderabad and Hindu-biased rural population of the region," the report said.
In its analysis on opinions of Christians in the Telangana region, the report says Christians from Telangana have demanded a separate state, arguing that most development benefits in the state have gone to coastal Andhra.
"Reservations are the issue here as coastal Andhra Christians (mostly Malas) have done better than Telangana and Rayalaseema Christians," the report said.
Christians in non-Telangana regions want Andhra Pradesh to remain united.
"They contend that they have all contributed to the progress in Hyderabad by investing a large section of their manpower (labour force) and capital to an extent. They feel that the culture and customs in the two regions are similar," the report said.