With the Andhra Pradesh government asserting that Maoists had infiltrated the Osmania University campus as students, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the State to produce reported intelligence inputs to support the claim.
Senior counsel Harish Salve submitted before a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly that Maoists had infiltrated the campus and read out statements of some Maoist leaders to drive home the point that the agitation was being spearheaded by naxalites.
Justice Singhvi intervened and said: “Rapid Action Force entering the campus in the garb of dealing with anti-social elements is certainly a serious matter. Where is the evidence of infiltration inside the campus? What is the proof available with the government? We would like to have it.”
Mr. Salve replied: “There are intelligence inputs available, but we can’t make it public. But certainly we can make it available to the court.”
Justice Singhvi said: “We can understand the deployment of police force, but for the deployment of RAF or paramilitary forces, we would like to see the secret intelligence inputs you have. Produce them.”
Earlier, Mr. Salve submitted that the government never interfered in meetings convened by students. He said that on certain occasions fiery speeches were made by speakers, declaring that their only aim was to pull down the edifice of the State government.
Justice Ganguly said: “In a democracy that is the view of the speakers.”
Justice Singhvi added: “You can’t change the culture of human beings. This is part of the freedom of speech and expression. We understand that the division is vertical whether it is among professors, students, lawyers or others.”
Counsel Prashant Bhushan and Ramakrishna Reddy, appearing for the respondents, submitted that over 200 persons committed suicide since the agitation began. As it was an emotive issue, they said, it should be tackled politically and not as a mere law and order problem. Justice Singhvi said: “Only ordinary people commit suicide in such agitations.”
Denying Maoist infiltration, Mr. Reddy traced the origin of the Telangana struggle to 1949 and, said some of the students who participated in the 1969 agitation might have become Maoist leaders and made some statements. This would not mean that there was Maoist infiltration and that the RAF could enter the campus under the garb of Maoist infiltration, he added.
The Bench listed the case for further hearing to February 25.