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Student Bodies Term Prof Kasim’s Arrest Under UAPA as ‘State Targeted’

At least 65 activists and student leaders in Telangana have been booked under UAPA in October and November last year.
Professor Chintikindi Kasim

Professor Chintikindi Kasim. Image Courtesy: Bangalore Mirror

New Delhi: Student organisations in Telangana are demanding the immediate release of Professor Chintikindi Kasim, who was arrested on Saturday in a 2016 case under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). While hearing a petition in the matter, Telangana High Court chief justice had questioned the manner in which the state police conducted recent arrests under UAPA and warned of transferring the cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“The state government has targeted professor Kasim for his activism in raising voice against unemployment, caste system, attacks on universities and education system and campaigning for people’s issues,” several progressive organisations in Osmania University, including All India Students Federation, Student Federation of India, Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika (TVV) and BC Vidyarthi Sangam, said in a statement on Monday.

Condemning the arrest, students, activists and civil society organisations held protest demonstrations at various places in Hyderabad.

On January 18, a team of police from Siddipet district’s Mulugu town held search operations at Kasim’s residence in Hyderabad before arresting him.

While hearing a house motion petition that challenged the arrest, filed by Civil Liberties Association, High Court Chief Justice RS Chauhan had directed the police to produce Kasim at his residence on Sunday. The petitioner’s counsel, Raghunath, told the court that the police had arrested Kasim in a 2016 case and that police records mentioned that the professor was ‘absconding’ despite knowing that he was teaching in Osmania University. Responding to this, Justice Chauhan questioned the state police’s pattern of arrests and warned of transferring such cases to CBI.

On January 19, the justice allowed Kasim to meet his family and directed the police to file a counter affidavit by January 23. Later, Kasim was shifted to Charlapally jail.

According to the police, in 2016, one person, Shyam Sundar, was arrested in a ‘hit and run’ case wherein the victim died on the spot. Reportedly, the police found incriminating evidence, including correspondence between Kasim and the Maoist party leadership, inside Shyam Sundar's car.

Last month, the state police arrested three activists belonging to the Chaitanya Mahila Sangam (CMS) -- Shilpa, Devendra and Swapna -- one TVV leader Menchu Sandeep and Telangana Praja Front (TPF) member Menchu Ramesh in Hyderabad from their residences. And all of them were booked under UAPA act.

NewsClick had earlier reported that at least 65 activists and student leaders have been booked under UAPA in October and November, last year.

In October last year, the state police had arrested Nagaraju, Balaram and B Maddileti, all three associated with TVV, Nalamasa Krishna, vice president of TPF and Dr. Jagan, Economics lecturer in Osmania University, member of Virasam and editor of Student March magazine. All of them have been booked under UAPA and have been kept in Mahboobnagar jail in the Gadwal Conspiracy case. Subsequently, a lawyer, Anil, associated with Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners and one Suresh were taken into custody. A few days later, two more progressive writers, Anuradha and Ravi, were arrested.

Kasim is an associate professor in the Telugu department in Osmania University. He is also secretary of the Revolutionary Writers Association or Virasam and editor of a Telugu newspaper, Nadusthunna Telangana.

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