Hyderabad: Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati Tuesday invited the ire of pro-Telangana groups as he opposed the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, saying the formation of a separate state would only help Maoists and terrorists.
The Kanchi seer told reporters in Guntur that he was for a united Andhra Pradesh as the formation of a Telangana state would be disastrous.
He also said that the people of Telangana were not for a separate state and that it was only the political leaders who were demanding it.
"It the state is divided, people of other religions, terrorists and Maoists will get penetrated," he said.
The Shankaracharya said that since people of Andhra Pradesh were all Telugu-speaking, he saw no reason for dividing the state.
However, the seer`s remarks triggered a row with Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and other groups fighting for a separate Telangana staging demonstrations against his remarks.
TRS leaders staged a protest in Secunderabad demanding that the Shankaracharya withdraw his remarks.
Students of Osmania University also protested against his statements and set afire his effigy on the campus.
"The Shankaracharya should visit Telangana to see for himself the people`s movement for a separate state," said a student.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislator from Telangana S. Venugopalachary condemned the seer`s remarks and advised him not to meddle into politics.