On Saturday, April 13, Telangana Police obstructed an indoor meeting organised by the Democratic Teachers’ Federation, and detained several activists including educationalist Haragopal and a number of teachers from the meeting venue, Telangana Non Gazetted Officers’ Bhavan (NGO Bhavan) in Hyderabad. The meeting was a gathering of teachers from the state demanding the release of activists and public intellectuals including Varavara Rao and Sudha Bharadwaj, among others.
Revolutionary Writers’ Association (Virasam) has condemned the incident as undemocratic and an inhuman act of the Telangana government. “It is shameful to disrupt an indoor meeting of teachers who want to speak about the incarceration of fellow teachers like Varavara Rao, Saibaba, Shoma Sen and other intellectuals,” Virasam said in a statement.
They have also demanded the immediate release of the activists and urged to allow the meeting peacefully.
Also read: Human Rights Activists, Writers Taken into Custody Across the Country
Sources who were present at the spot told NewsClick that the police have locked the doors of NGO Bhavan and used barricades to stop hundreds of teachers from attending the meeting.
contacted P Viswa Prasad, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Zone) Hyderabad, he said over phone, “It was not an arrest but preventive detention.” When questioned why an indoor meeting was obstructed, Prasad denied to make any comment.
Last year, Pune police had arrested nine activists - Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Surendra Pundlik Gadling, Sudhir Pralhad Dhawale, Rona Jacob Wilson, Soma Sen and Mahesh Sitaram Raut, accusing them of suspected links with the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) following investigations in the Bhima Koregaon case. They have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Read more: Arrests of Activists: Why Pune Police Is Aggressively Pursuing Tushar Damgude’s FIR