Noted Civil rights activist K. Balagopal (52) died of cardiac arrest in a hospital in Banjara hills on Thursday night. He is survived by wife and son.
Balagopal was one of the staunch civil liberties activist in Andhra Pradesh and had broken away from the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC), with which he was associated since its inception in ‘80’s, on the issue of violence perpetrated by the erstwhile CPI-ML Peoples War.
Professor Balagopal founded the human rights form (RF) in A.P. The civil liberties leader had been steadfastly opposing the ‘red violence’ of the Maoists as he was opposing the state violence also. He was a prolific writer on people’s issues and had recently written about the developments on the Maoist front in west Bengal.
His bold criticism of the Maoist’s propensity to indulge in violence attracted severe criticism from the naxalites. As recently as a fortnight ago, Maoist Central Committee member, Mallojula Koteshwar Rao had challenged Professor Balagopal to visit Lalgarh resistance area to know the real picture. Professor Balagopal opposed the state violence as much he opposed the ‘Red violence’.
Professor Balagopal gave up teaching in Kakatiya University and took to practice of law nearly a decade ago and had argued dozens of cases pertaining to encounter killings by the police. When the erstwhile people’s war cadres resorted to a rash of kidnaps in late ‘80’s, a vigilante organisation ‘Praja Bandu’ abducted him demanding the release of two policemen from naxalite custody. The ‘Praja Bandu’ which was suspected to have been floated by the state police had released him only after the abducted policemen were let off.