Hyderabad: A week after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with local police raided homes of several rights activists and advocates, including Human Rights’ Forum (HRF) member VS Krishna, the rights group demanded that the agency and state governments drop the “fabricated” accusations against all.
On 31st March, NIA conducted searches at 31 locations spread across eight districts of Andhra Pradesh: Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Prakasam, Srikakulam, Kurnool, Krishna, East Godavari and Kadapa and four districts of Telangana: Ranga Reddy, Hyderabad, Medchal-Malkajgiri and Medak.
The raids were pursuant to a case registered at the Munchingput police station, Visakhapatnam district on 23rd November containing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Sedition, criminal conspiracy and various other IPC provisions. The charges are based on the allegation that the accused belonged to the outlawed CPI (Maoist).
Of the houses raided of popular members’ of rights, Dalit and women’s organizations is VS Krishna, co-ordination committee member of the HRF. The activists were accused of having Maoist links.
The NIA team has reportedly seized six hard disks, one mobile, three sim cards, three SD cards and a few documents from his house. The bank details of VS Krishna and his family were photographed and the NIA team is said to have interrogated him for about eight hours in Vizag.
HRF, however, reiterated that the search operations are nothing but a sorry attempt at intimidating voices of dissent and protest against the establishment.
“The accusations against VS Krishna of Human Rights Forum and functionaries of several other rights, literary and Dalit organizations is clearly an exercise in intimidation intended to stifle lawful dissent and protest,” HRF said, in a statement.
The forum added that they have no hesitation in stating that the contents of the FIR are a “litany of lies”.
Furthermore, the HRF said that the charges brought about in the Munchingput FIR are a catalogue of fabricated and sometimes farcical accusations. “It can only be termed as rampant abuse of the criminal justice system,” the forum stated, adding that “it is becoming evident now following the recent NIA raids, that some kind of a story of a grand conspiracy of ‘urban Maoism’ is being sought to be orchestrated in the States of AP and Telangana”.
HRF also said that there must be an immediate halt to attempts at suppressing dissent and the UAPA and sedition laws must be removed from the statute books.