Andhra Pradesh

Munchingput case: rights groups term NIA raids on activists illegal

Members of various human rights organisations such as the Progressive Organisation for Women (POW), the Human Rights Forum (HRF), and the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) staged a demonstration at the Gandhi statue, near the GVMC office, here on Thursday, in protest against the raids conducted in Visakhapatnam by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the houses of the accused in the Munchingput case.

The raids were conducted on Wednesday not only in Visakhapatnam but also elsewhere in the State and in Telangana.

In the city, the NIA raided the house of V.S. Krishna, A.P. and TS coordinator of HRF; Padma of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPC); Chalam of the All People’s Lawyer Association, and Sreeramurthy and Balakrishna of the APCLC.

The NIA had also asked Mr. Krishna and Mr. Chalam to present themselves before the investigating officer at its camp office on Thursday.

Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Lakshmi of the POW said the raids were conducted till 2.30 a.m., causing harassment to the family members.

“It is learnt that the NIA officers could not find anything incriminating, except for some fact-finding material of the alleged fake encounters in the LWE-affected regions. Computers, hard disks and cell phones have been seized,” she said.

“The raids are illegal and are based on a confession of an accused,” the activists argued.

The Munchingput police in the district had arrested Pangi Naganna on November 23, 2020, and reportedly seized from his possession Maoist literature, press notes, wire bundles and other incriminating material.

During interrogation, Naganna had reportedly confessed that he was a Maoist sympathiser and had been operating as their informer. He had reportedly named 64 persons who had connections with the banned outfit.

The NIA had taken over the case on March 5 this year, and the raids were part of the investigation.

“How can the NIA conduct raids based on a confession that could be under duress?” questioned Ms. Lakshmi.

“It is only to stifle the voice of dissent. The rights groups have been raising their voice against the misdoings of the Union government, which included the farm Acts, NRC and CAA,” she said.

‘High Court order’

“When the rights organisations took up the case, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had passed an interim order to stop investigation and further action. The NIA raids are, therefore, illegal,” said Ms. Lakshmi.

When questioned, the NIA had reportedly said that it was a routine search under national security.

“How can rights groups be a threat to national security?” the protesters questioned, and demanded that the investigation be stopped immediately.


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 12:40:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/munchingput-case-rights-groups-term-nia-raids-on-activists-illegal/article34219001.ece

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