The Visalandhra Mahasabha was denied permission at the eleventh hour to hold a press conference at the Somajiguda Press Club at here on Tuesday.
With the gates locked and chained, denying entry to the leaders of Visalandhra Mahasabha and reporters, the leaders addressed the media on the road.
Condemning the incident, they said it was very unfortunate that the press, which has to champion the cause of ‘freedom of expression’ was denying them a chance to express their opinions.
‘’It is not the first time that we have been treated in such a manner. For the past three years, we have been facing such treatment. Recently, when we released a book on Visalandhra, it was snatched and burnt at the Basheerbagh Press Club. Today, when we approached them and the NSS, we were denied the permission. When we approached the Somajiguda Press Club, initially they had agreed to let us hold our press conference but when we reached here, we were told that they were instructed not to allow us to hold the meeting,’’ Visalandhra Mahasabha president N Chakravarthy said.
He said stifling one’s voice and not respecting the right to expression did not augur well for democracy. He also wondered as to why the civil liberties organisations and those fighting for civil rights had been silent on such incidents. ‘’Selective fight for civil liberties is not good,’’ he said while emphasising that people’s views needed to be heard and respected.
Chakravarthy said their main intention of holding the press conference was to condemn the manhandling of students agitating for Samaikyandhra in Vizianagaram by Congress workers when they shouted slogans against PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana.
The Visalandhra Mahasabha, which is supporting the APNGOs’ ‘Save AP’ meeting in Hyderabad on September 7, decided to mobilise people for the meeting. It cautioned the people against political parties trying to hijack the movement for their own purposes in the name of yatras in support of United Andhra Pradesh cause and said those were on yatras had given their consent in writing to the Centre years ago for bifurcation, well aware of the consequences. Now, fearing their very survival in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, they were resorting to yatras, he said.