Opposing the recent unlawful arrests of activists in Telangana, Left parties, dalit, bahujan, tribal and civil society organisations have called for a public meeting on October 23 in Sundarayya Vignana Kendram, Hyderabad.
From October 4 to October 15, state police have arrested five persons separately, including Nagaraju, Balaram and B Maddileti, all three associated with Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika (TVV), Nalamasa Krishna, vice president of Telangana Praja Front (TPF) and Dr. Jagan, Economics lecturer in Osmania University, member of Virasam (Viplava Rachaitala Sangam) and editor of Student March magazine. The police had registered the case which is being termed as ‘Gadwal Conspiracy’ case under Sections 18, 18B (Punishment for conspiracy), and Section 20 (Punishment for being a member of a terrorist gang or organisation) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Section 120 B (Criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, and Section 8(1)(2) of the Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act (APPSA), 1992.
The police have also booked three others, Chukkala Shilpa, general secretary, Chaitanya Mahila Sangam (CMS), Guntha Renuka, CMS member, and Menchu Ramesh, TPF secretary, and are claiming them to be absconding.
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Meanwhile, Telangana High Court on Thursday, October 17, termed two of the arrests of Maddileti and Krishna as unlawful and stated that the police didn’t adhere to the rules under CrPC section 41b during the arrest, while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by their family members. The bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy has asked the state home ministry, Director General of Police and Hyderabad Police Commissioner to file counter petition in this regard and posted the next hearing for October 21.
According to Maddileti’s wife, on October 8, tens of policemen raided their house while she was alone with her two year old baby girl, threatened her at gunpoint and confiscated her laptop.
On October 11, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar declared that 23 organisations are banned including TVV, TPF, CMS, Tudum Debba (organisation working for adivasi land rights), Committee for Release of Political Prisoners, Civil Liberties Committee, Kula Nirmula Porata Samithi (organisation working towards caste annihilation), among others claiming them to be frontal associations of banned CPI (Maoist) party. He threatened the people to not to take part in their activities. However, no official statement has been issued as such.
On this point, Virasam stated that the crackdown is a part of the state government’s conspiracy to attack peoples’ movements. “Despite criticism on these developments from various quarters, the government hasn’t responded on the matter, so far,” it has said.
According to sources, TVV’s Nagaraju has been organising protests for the last two years on alleged corruption activities by the lawmakers in newly formed Gadwal district. His fellow members argue that his arrest was prompted as he was actively fighting against corruption in education and health departments by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi party MLAs in the district. They claim that on October 5, Gadwal town police arrested him on fictitious charges of linking him to CPI (Maoist) and whereas, Jagan’s arrest was just on the premises that a few editions of Student March magazines was obtained from Nagaraju’s place during a raid. While the police claim that Nagaraju told the names of Jagan and Krishna, but sources told NewsClick that Nagaraju hasn’t even met Jagan before. On October 7, another Gadwal’s TVV activist Balaram was picked up by the police as part of the same case.
On October 10, Jagan was arrested on his way to Osmania University and later in the evening, his house was raided by the police.
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On October 15, over 40 police personnel raided TPF leader Krishna’s office-cum-residence in plain clothes, at Baghlingampally in the city, and arrested Krishna and Maddileti from there. Activists claim that the brutal manner in which the police arrested the two leaders without following any rules has been recorded by neighbours and family members.