AMRAVATHI: Youths in Andhra Pradesh are planning a "silent beach protest" in Visakhapatnam on Republic Day tomorrow demanding special category status (SCS) for the state, which has found support from Opposition parties and social groups, even as the port city is gearing up for a two-day Partnership Summit on January 27 and 28.
The protest has been called by unknown youths through Facebook and other social media and is now being supported by main opposition YSR Congress, Jana Sena and other outfits.
It was Telugu film star and Jana Sena Pawan Kalyan who was the first to respond to the call and throw his support behind the unknown youths and asked them to make it totally apolitical.
Though he has so far not announced any plan to personally take part in the movement, sources close to him did not rule out the possibility of the star springing a surprise.
Also, the YSRC was quick to jump in and called for a candle light protest on the Ramakrishna Beach in Visakhapatnam. Leader of Opposition and YSRC chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy announced that he would take part in the candle light protest in Visakhapatnam tomorrow.
However, state Director General of Police (in charge) Nanduri Sambasiva Rao ruled out permitting the youth protest in view of the "threat perception" for Visakhapatnam, that too on the eve of the Partnership Summit that the government has taken up as a prestigious event.
"Nobody has sought permission for the protest and inany event permission cannot be granted for such agitations. Unsocial elements might creep in and cause disturbances," the DGP apprehended.
The Jana Sena hit back asserting that none could deny the youth their "democratic right".
"If they don't allow it now, you are creating unrest in them. Peaceful protest is their right. Youth protest is apolitical. Its citizens right to protest when they were
denied for what they had been promised. AP government should allow youth for a peaceful protest, which they had planned. No one can deny their right in democracy," Kalyan said in a series of tweets.
Now, caught in a piquant situation over the renewed agitation for SCS, the ruling Telugu Desam Party has started its own campaign through social media accusing the Opposition
parties of trying to block the state's development by instigating the youths.
"The Partnership Summit is precisely for attracting industries to the state, which will generate jobs. If SCS is meant for this, then why disturb the Partnership Summit," senior TDP MLA Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy questioned.
Stating that youth had a right to protest in a peaceful manner, he suggested that any agitation could be taken up after the Summit.
"They can duly seek police permission and organise their protest," he added.
The Congress too announced it would organise peaceful protests in front of Mahatma Gandhi statues in the state in solidarity with the youth movement.