Civil liberties activists assaulted
-- By Prof. S. Seshaiah, Secretary, APCLC (By E-mail
Andhra Pradesh civil liberties activists have been subjected to harassment
and threats on several occasions for defending human rights and exposing
the state police excess. Yet another incident took place recently at Rayachoti
in Kadapa District of Andhra Pradesh State where the Policemen brutally
attacked the human rights defenders belonging to Andhra Pradesh Civil
Liberties Committee (APCLC) and Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA).
On 25.05.2003 at Rayachoti town, a Special Police party lead by Additional
Superintendent of Police (A.S.P.) of Kadapa District Mr. Narasinga Rao
attacked and assaulted the APCLC state committee leaders R. Shameer Basha,
a lecturer and Kranthi Chaithanya, an advocate and the Kadapa district
committee activists C. Jawahar Babu, B. Bhaskar, A. Hameed, R. Ravishankar
and G. Muralikrishna and RWA State General Secretary G. Pinakapani, a
teacher and its Kadapa District Committee activists S. Ravikumar, Shaik
Shafi and P. Varalakshmi.
The lathi charge (usually a cane beating by police to disperse but this
time the special police used special hard sticks) was so severe that Shameer
Basha had received fractural injury on the right hand and a severe injury
on his left eye, whereas Kranthi Chaitany's right foot and foot fingers
were badly damaged. All of the 11 activists were beaten severely on several
parts of their bodies that the lathi marks can be seen even after a week.
The Police lathi charged unwarrantedly on the above activists for their
peaceful protest activity in connection with a fake encounter killing
of 4 persons including a woman naxalite that happened on the previous
On 23.05.2003, on the hillock of Chakibanda forest near Rayachoti in Kadapa
district, the Gray Hounds Police Party (a Special wing of AP Police exclusively
formed to physically eliminate Maoist naxalite activists) killed two Naxalites
belonging to the banned CPI (ML) People's War. They fired from a hideout,
first at the woman naxalite Sandhya while she was bringing water and they
killed naxalite Prasad, who was resting as a patient under a tree, both
Naxalites were unarmed at the time of Police firing and they could have
arrested them with life. The same Police also injured two innocent village
shepherds Kadirappa Nayudu and Ramanappa Nayudu who happen to be there
at that firing place with their sheep. Though the injured shepherds were
caught with life the Gray Hounds Police party killed them as they happened
to be the direct witnesses to the extra judicial killing of unarmed Naxalites
by Gray Hounds police.
On this the APCLC state committee leaders R. Shameer Basha and Kranthi
Chaithanya and the Kadapa district committee leaders conducted fact finding
which revealed that the Police deliberately killed all the 4 persons in
the name of encounter in spite of there being a chance of arresting them.
APCLC arranged a press meet with the other injured-shepherd-witnesses
who could manage to escape from scene of firing and with the family members
of those innocent victim-shepherds of the encounter incident which were
exposed widely to the public. One of the naxalite encounter killing victim
Mr. Prasad (50), is a state committee leader of CPI (ML) Peoples War and
also a Revolutionary Writer and so the RWA activists came to pay their
last respects to him by putting red flag over the dead body and by giving
In fact on 25.6.03 the RWA activists were helping Mr. Vijaykumar, a Professor
of IIT Kharagpur, the brother of deceased naxalite Prasad to take out
his dead body from the Rayachoti Hospital to his native place. APCLC activists
were standing at NGO home near the Hospital. As the APCLC and RWA activity
of exposing the killing of innocent Shepherds and unarmed naxalites in
the name of encounter evoked much public criticism, the police wanted
to retaliate. This is the reason for the brutal lathi charge by the police
on the activists on 25.6.03. The police beat Mr. Vijay Kumar also who
opposed lathi charge on the RWA and APCLC activists. To justify the brutal
attack of police they foisted a false case against the above 11 activists
of APCLC and RWA.
The police arrested them on the allegation that APCLC and RWA members
formed into unlawful assembly and pelted stones and prevented police from
their official duties, which is absolutely false. The police took them
to Rayachoti Police Station beating them ruthlessly with ) rifle buts
and verbally abusing in filthy language. During the custody they were
warned to disassociate from civil liberties activity. They were not given
medical treatment and also denied access to their friends, relatives and
advocates. This is absolute violation of Supreme Court of India's guidelines
to the Police given in D.K. Basu case in the matter of arrest and detention.
APCLC demands withdrawal of the false case against the 11 activists; a
judicial enquiry into the encounter incident; punishment to the erring
police; and compensation to the victim shepherd families.
APCLC condemns this type of criminalisation of activities of Human Rights
defenders and thereby justifying the violation of Human Rights by Police.
This is to silence APCLC and it is not new to Andhra Pradesh Police. Unless
there is a strong protest from the wide sections of people especially
those who are seriously concerned with Human Rights the repeat of such
incidents will continue to take place.