A group of eminent citizens of Hyderabad, supporting the demand for separate statehood for the Telangana region, has appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee to allow Telangana groups to hold a march here Sep 30.
In a letter to the president, they urged him to ensure that the democratic rights of Telangana's 40 million people are protected.
They appealed to him to ensure that the Andhra Pradesh government does not resort to oppressive measures.
Twenty eminent personalities from different walks of life said the government should not treat the peaceful march as a threat to the law and order situation.
They said any repressive measure on the eve of the global bio-diversity conference would showcase the city in the worst light possible in the international arena.
"To use repression and create a terror-like situation in order to conduct a UN conference is not the best way for India to project itself as the largest democracy in the world," they wrote.
They voiced the apprehension that anti-Telangana lobby groups might use anti-social elements to create trouble during the march to defame and weaken the Telangana movement.
The signatories to the letter include former Supreme Court judge B. Sudershan Reddy, former member of the Planning Commission of India C.H. Hanumantha Rao, former chairman of the National Minorities Commission Sardar Ali Khan, former secretary to Prime Minister K.R. Venugopal Rao and eminent scientist P.M. Bhargava.
Some other signatories like former chairman of the state minorities commission Mahbub Alam Khan, freedom fighter B. Narsing Rao, former professor of political science in Osmania University Rama Melkote and editor of daily 'Siasat' Zaheeruddin Ali Khan jointly addressed a press conference here Monday.
Rama Melkote said the march would be organised even if there is no police permission for the same.
She wondered why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were not visiting Telangana to assess the ground situation for themselves, instead of listening to what those surrounding them were saying.
Mahabub Alam Khan said no amount of suppression would prevent the formation of Telangana state.
Zaheeruddin Ali Khan said it was a movement of four million people of the region.
Narasing Rao described the proposed march as the climax of the manifestation of the people's aspiration for Telangana state.
K. Vishweshwar Reddy of Progressive Telangana Foundation said the government was nervous about the march. He said the protest would be peaceful provided there was no instigation.
The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) plans to hold the march to mount pressure on the central government to carve out a separate state.
The state government has appealed to the JAC to postpone the march in view of the Ganesh immersion procession Sep 29 and the bio-diversity conference, beginning Oct 1.