Andhra Pradesh

‘FIRs against human rights activists a move to stifle voice of lawful dissent’

Taking strong exception to the accusations made in the two FIRs filed at Munchingput police station in Visakhapatnam district and Piduguralla in Guntur district against V.S. Krishna of Human Rights Forum (HRF) and functionaries of several other rights, literary, and dalit organisations, the HRF functionaries on Friday described it as an intimidation tactics to stifle the lawful dissent and protest.

In the Munchingput FIR, Mr. Krishna, Coordination Committee member of the HRF (A.P. & Telangana), was accused of influencing the Vakapalli rape survivors to depose falsely against the accused police personnel.

“This is an atrocious allegation. Since 2007, the HRF, along with many adivasi, women, and people’s organisations, has been seeking justice for 11 Vakapalli women who were allegedly raped by the personnel of A.P. Special Forces. It is because of the resilience of the women and the intervention of High Court in 2012 and Supreme Court in 2017, the trial is continuing in the SC, ST Special Court in Visakhapatnam,” said S. Jeevan Kumar of the HRF. Two of the survivors have died and the remaining nine deposed in the Visakhapatnam court.

“The HRF, along with several other organisations, provided food and shelter to them. It is not a crime to provide food and shelter to the women witnesses from remote areas and help them depose in a criminal trial mandated by the law,” said A. Chandrasekhar of the HRF.

UAPA invoked

“It is because of this solidarity that the police are now seeking to intimidate Mr. Krishna and we believe to be a clear case of vindictiveness. They have gone to the extent of invoking the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” they observed.

The UAPA was invoked against three HRF functionaries —HRF vice-president (Telangana) Atram Bhujana Rao, HRF Adilabad district president A. Suguna and HRF Komaram Bheem Asifabad district president Kanaka Venkatesh—in an FIR lodged at Tadvai police station in Mulug district of Telangana on November 2. All three are teachers in government schools, said Mr. Jeevan.

‘Drop accusations’

He further said that the HRF was not a surrogate or a front of any political party. “HRF was formed in 1998 with the firm conviction that a broad-based and truly independent human rights movement is desirable and possible. We demand that the fabricated accusations in the FIRs be immediately dropped,” said Mr. Chandrasekhar.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 8:16:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/firs-against-human-rights-activists-a-move-to-stifle-voice-of-lawful-dissent/article33196405.ece

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