Amaravati: TDP Politburo member Varla Ramaiah on Friday urged the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to order a probe into alleged human rights violations and illegal arrests of “peaceful” protesters in Andhra Pradesh. He also asked for stringent action to be taken against the officials responsible for the “degradation” of law and order in the state.
In a letter sent to the NHRC Chairperson here, Ramaiah stated that the AP Government and the police forces were resorting to gross violations of fundamental rights with specific reference to Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
The state officials were accused of suppressing all dissenting voices and skirting democratic values. Ramaiah further argued that if the officers weren’t held accountable, the state of democracy would further erode.
The leader further said that the Telugu Desam Party had given a call for state-wide protests on August 28 against the rise in petrol and diesel prices. The rate of petrol had shot up to Rs 108 per liter which the TDP leader argued was the highest in the state.
“The protests were held in a peaceful manner with adherence to COVID-19 protocols. The aim was to put pressure on the Government of Andhra Pradesh so that it would reduce the prices of petrol and diesel,” said Ramaiah in a statement to the media.
Ramaiah argued that in this backdrop, the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has “unleashed” police force, and accordingly TDP leaders, cadre, and the general public were arrested, while others were placed under house arrest. Several FIRs were registered against the TDP leaders in the Kotabommali, Dendulur, Pulivendula, and Bommanahal police stations.
Other FIRs were booked in order to threaten people from expressing their dissent in a peaceful manner, he added.
Decrying the Government’s oppressive tactics, Ramaiah alleged that in many places not only FIRs were registered under different sections, but some leaders were also arrested and detained illegally and released later. The police were found to be “disobeying” the constitution and violated democratic norms by illegally detained demonstrators, he added.
“Police are grossly neglecting and turning a blind eye to the mass gatherings, processions, and meetings organised by the ruling YSRCP leaders. The YSRCP-led Government has been using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to target and victimise TDP leaders, cadre, and sympathizers,” added Ramaiah.
The TDP leader concluded by asking the NHRC to step in and rectify the situation by holding AP state officials accountable.