NIA raids activists in Andhra, Telangana
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday conducted raids at the premises of several Adivasi, Dalit and human rights activities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for their alleged links with Maoists, people familiar with the development said.
Among those being raided till late night include Chilika Chandrasekhar (general secretary of Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee), a senior lawyer in Hyderabad and an organisation involved in human rights work.
HT had reported exclusively on Sunday that the central anti-terror probe agency has booked at least 64 persons – mostly activists and a journalist – under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and sedition for helping Maoists in their activities. This is NIA’s second case against activists after Bhima-Koregaon probe, in which several activists like Sudha Bhardwaj, Anand Teltumbde, Professor Hany Babu MT, Father Stan Swamy have already been arrested for allegedly being part of Maoists’ frontal networks to increase their influence.
The prominent activists named in NIA First Information Report are – Chilika Chandrasekhar, VS Krishna, Human Rights Forum (HRF) coordinator for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh – who has been speaking against Andhra’s anti-Naxal force – the Greyhounds – for allegedly raping 11 tribal women in 2007 in the Vakapalli incident; and Duddu Prabhakar (a prominent Dalit activist).
Chandrasekhar told HT – “The NIA team is at my residence in Guntur without presence of any intermediary. My wife is at home alone. They have not allowed anybody to see anything”.
It was not clear if Krishna’s premises were also being searched by the agency. Prabhakar is currently in jail after he was arrested by Andhra Pradesh police few weeks ago.
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A NIA officer, who didn’t want to be named, said most of the 64 accused named in the FIR are being raided to collect evidence on their involvement in the conspiracy. This officer added that the agency wants to unearth the entire ‘urban-naxals’ network.
The latest case was registered by Andhra Pradesh police on November 23 last year after the arrest of a TV journalist from Visakhapatnam, Pangi Naganna (30). It is alleged that Naganna worked as a courier for Maoists and had been passing information to the ultras inside the jungle about police movements and as instructed by Maoist leaders he was involved in instigating villagers to stop the forces from combing operations, obstruct police from entering villages, revolt against police parties and hold rallies against the government. Revolutionary Maoist literature, press notes, medicines, wire bundles and other incriminating material was said to have been recovered from his bag at the time of arrest.
During his interrogation, Naganna said he facilitated meetings between Maoists and civil society organisations.
It was on the basis of Naganna’s confession that the state police had named VS Krishna as well as Akkiraju Haragopal – a senior Central Committee member of the CPI (Maoist). The state police had further alleged that Krishna had assured Haragopal of spreading Maoist ideology in urban areas. Haragopal too is named as an accused in NIA case.
It is further alleged that Chilika Chandrasekhar also met Maoists, according to Naganna’s confession.
Telangana Civil Liberties Committee president G Laxman confirmed that the NIA sleuths, along with the Andhra Pradesh police, raided the residence of V Raghunath, high court advocate and vice-president of civil liberties committee at Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad.
“The searches have been going on since 6 pm. The NIA authorities seized the laptop and the computer of Raghunath and inspected them,” Laxman said and condemned what he described as illegal raids by the NIA on the advocates and other rights activists and writers.
(with inputs from Srinivasa Rao Apparasu)