Buckling under opposition pressure, the Andhra Pradesh government on Monday said it was withdrawing a third of the criminal cases against students and others who took part in the movement for a separate Telangana state. Making a statement in the State Assembly, Home Minister, P. Sabita Indra Reddy said 562 cases against a total of 2,436 people were being withdrawn.
A total of 1,667 cases were registered against 8,047 people during the protests between December, 2009 and September this year. She said all the cases had been divided into two categories depending on their gravity. While petty cases like violation of prohibitory orders, road blockades and attempt to suicide were being withdrawn, cases like arson and attack on public and private property would be examined.
"Of the total cases, 122 against 411 people were closed at the police station level during the course of investigation, while 383 cases against 2,500 people were pending in court," she said. The statement came after the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) paralysed the state assembly on Friday and Saturday over this demand. It forced an adjournment on Monday as well.
The main opposition, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and TRS expressed dissatisfaction over the statement and demanded that all cases against students, in all the regions be withdrawn unconditionally. In response, the Chief Minister, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has assured the house that every case was would be thoroughly examined. "The government will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time in respect of the cases which were not withdrawn," he said. Reddy also appealed to students not to resort to violence during protests.
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader, Akbaruddin Owaisi demanded that the cases booked against 422 Muslim youth in the old city of Hyderabad, in the aftermath of communal clashes this year, be withdrawn as well. The Chief Minister, however, told him that while the two issues could not be clubbed, the government was ready review these cases.