The Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (OPDR) and intellectuals from a cross section of society on Wednesday demanded the State police to unconditionally withdraw all charges framed against the Resident Editor of The Hindu S. Nagesh Kumar.

Speaking at a debate, organised by the Andhra Pradesh Working Journalists’ Federation (APWJF) on the issue at the Press Club in Anantapur, OPDR district president Ram Kumar called the entire exercise showed the extent to which the police could go to silence their critics even if it meant violating the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution.

He questioned if the police were meant to undermine the orders of the courts also in cases related to its senior officers, as was evident by the way the police were harassing Mr. Nagesh Kumar and trying to reject his anticipatory bail on various grounds.

Speakers of the Manava Hakkula Vedika and senior lawyer Rasool questioned the police charging Mr Nagesh under non- bailable sections and British era laws arguing that it was a measure of the vindictive nature that the police had stooped to apparently achieve personal ends.

The debate was attended by representatives of all newspapers in the district, which unanimously declared the police action as undemocratic and warranted intervention by the state government in ensuring that the charges were dropped with immediate effect.