They are apprehensive of oppressive measures by A.P. government

As many as 20 well-known citizens from Hyderabad, including the former Supreme Court judge, B. Sudarshan Reddy, and the former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), P.M. Bhargava, on Monday urged President Pranab Mukherjee to instruct the State and Union governments not to stop the proposed “Telangana March” slated for September 30.

In a signed representation, they sought to bring to the President’s notice the current situation in Telangana and the specific aspects of the proposed march.

“The demand for Telangana state today is loud and clear across the social, economic and political spectrum and it is a demand based not only on numerous instances of discrimination and lack of development, but also as much about the self-respect and dignity of 40 million people of India,” it said.

The signatories expressed concern that the Andhra Pradesh government might resort to measures such as arrest of leaders, students and ordinary people before September 30 in the name of preventive custody. Such a situation might actually provoke more people to come onto the streets. They also feared that some powerful lobby groups would engage antisocial elements to intimidate and create confusion and tensions between communities.

As was done during the Million March held in March last year, they said the government might resort to erecting unprecedented road blocks in Hyderabad to prevent people’s movement. To use repression and create a terror-like situation in order to conduct the international biodiversity conference “is not the best way for India to project itself as largest democracy in the world.”

They appealed to the President to ensure that the democratic right of the Telangana people was constitutionally guaranteed. They sought his intervention for issuing appropriate directions to the Union of India and the State government to not to resort to oppressive measures, to take appropriate steps to prevent lobby groups in creating tensions and not to treat this peaceful march as any threat to the law and order situation and provoke the people.

At a press conference, some of the signatories including Rama Melkote, retired professor of political science of Osmania University; freedom fighter Burgula Narsing Rao; the former chairman of the A.P. Minorities Commission, Mahbub Alam Khan; and Managing Editor of Siasat daily, Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, said no amount of suppression would prevent the formation of Telangana. K. Vishveshwar Reddy of the Progressive Telangana Foundation and D.P. Reddy of the Telangana Development Forum also spoke.