Telangana supporters on Tuesday protested and burnt an effigy of Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati for his comments disfavouring the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, following which the seer said his remarks had been 'distorted'.
Students and leaders from Telangana, cutting across party lines, condemned the pontiff's remark.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti leaders burnt his effigy outside a temple run by the Kanchi Peetham at Skandagiri in Secunderabad.
"These kind of political remarks are not expected from a pontiff like Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati. Separate statehood is a genuine demand of Telangana people. He should not indulge in politics," former TRS MLA K Eswar said.
Senior Telugu Desam Party leader P Srinivasa Reddy said the seer should be cautious while speaking on the sensitive Telangana issue. Students of Osmania University also held a protest march on the campus and burnt an effigy of the seer.
The pontiff had said, "If Andhra Pradesh is split, it would be disastrous. Maoists will become stronger. There is no need to bifurcate the state where all people speak Telugu".
However, when asked about his reaction over the row triggered by his remarks, the seer told reporters, "There is nothing wrong in carving out a separate state if overwhelming public opinion is in favour of it."
He claimed that the media had distorted his remarks.