Saturday, July 20, 2024

No information why we were booked under UAPA: Haragopal

Human rights activist and former University of Hyderabad professor, G. Haragopal, who, along with 151 others, were booked by the Telangana Police under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for alleged links with Maoists, said on Friday that they had no information why the action against them was taken.

Haragopal, who served as Dean of School of Social Sciences at University of Hyderabad, wants Telangana society to respond as all those booked under UAPA fought for civil liberties and for statehood to Telangana.

The activist also reminded Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao of his word during the Telangana movement that after the formation of Telangana, he will be in the forefront for civil liberties.

“Doesn’t he know about our work,” Haragopal asked. He demanded that KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, rein in the police which “acts recklessly” and cautioned that if police is not controlled it would not be good for the Telangana government, which may have to pay a price in the next elections.

The former professor of political science was reacting to the booking of a case under UAPA by Tadvai police of Mulugu district last year.

The FIR, which was registered in August 2022, came to light on Thursday during the hearing of a bail petition of People’s Democratic Movement’s Chandramouli in another case.

While opposing the bail plea, the police had told Ranga Reddy district court that Chandramouli was involved in several other cases. When the court sought the details, the police submitted the FIR, which has names of 152 people including Haragopal.

University professors, students, women, farmers and civil rights activists have been named in the FIR. Police alleged that they were trying to overthrow the government at gunpoint by associating themselves with Maoists.

The FIR alleged they were planning attacks on officials, destruction of government property, recruitment of tribal youth, terrorising innocent people and raising funds for the Maoists.

Tadvai police claimed that their names were found in a diary seized on August 19, 2022 from a place where Maoists were holding a meeting. The police asked them to surrender but they fled into the dense forest. Kit bags, solar plates, water bottles, rope and a diary were recovered by the police.

“Entire society knows who writes these names. There is no need for Maoists to write. Police include whatever names they want,” said Haragopal, who was the interlocutor from the Maoists side when the rebels kidnapped Odisha’s then Malkangiri District Collector Vineel Krishna in 2012.

He doubted the police version about the Maoist meeting and wondered how all 11 Maoists could escape despite heavy presence by police.

He pointed out that the police also included the name of Padmaja Shaw, former Professor of Journalism at Osmania University, who is not even present in public life.

“Look how ridiculous this is. Justice Hosbet Suresh, who passed away two years ago, has also been named,” the activist said, adding that the Maharashtra government had not named Suresh in the Bhima Koregaon case out of respect for the former judge of the Bombay High Court.

Calling the police action of including the names a work of fiction, he said it was for the Telangana government to explain why the UAPA case was booked against them.

“Can you book UAPA case just because names are there in a diary,” asked Haragopal, who had also mediated during the hostage crisis in 1993 involving a Congress MLA, a IAS officer and four employees of Girijan Cooperative Corporation in Visakhapatnam.

“Telangana government knows our work. I have been a teacher and working for civil liberties for 55 years but till now there was not a single case against me. People also know the work we have done during the Telangana movement,” he added.

“Those booked are all living with honesty. They are not corrupt and not degenerated. They are a moral asset for the society,” he said urging the society to respond by demanding the government to withdraw the case.

Haragopal said they all will sit together and decide their course of action in this case.

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