Andhra Pradesh

Rights organisations stage protest in Vizag

Various human rights organisations in the city jointly staged a protest at the Gandhi Statue near the GVMC office, here on Monday, demanding the repeal of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and immediate quashing of FIRs against the rights activists.

They said that the law was draconian and was being used both by the Central and the State governments to stifle any form of dissent. They said that the right to protest was embedded in the Constitution and is part and parcel of democracy, and it cannot be muffled by using laws such as UAPA.

Speaking to The Hindu, K. Sudha of HRF said that UAPA was a clone of earlier dreaded laws such as POTA and TADA.

According to her, this law give free hand to the law enforcers to detain any person up to six months without giving an opportunity for applying for bail.

In normal case, chargesheet has to be filed within 60 to 90 days, but if one is booked under this Act, it gives a leverage to law enforcers to file chargesheet within 180 days. Even the remand period is extended from 15 to 30 days, she said.

The rights group took up the protest demanding that the FIRs against rights activists such as V.S. Krishna, K.S. Chalam, Balakrishna, Padma, Sreeramurthy and Annapurna, all belonging to various rights organisations in the city such as HRF, CMS and APCLC, be quashed.

FIRs were filed by the police against them, after two persons with alleged connections with the banned CPI (Maoists) have reportedly named them in the FIRs.

It may be remembered that one Pangi Naganna and Kambhampati Chaitanya were arrested at Munchingput in Visakha Agency and Piduguralla in Guntur, recently.

Both allegedly have connection with the Maoist and in the FIR they had confessed that all persons named in the FIR had met top Maoist leaders such as Akkiraju Haragopal alias RK, Gajarla Ravi alias Uday, and were providing assistance to them in some way or the other.

Based on their confession, the FIRs were filed against the rights activists by the police, without any shred of evidence, said Padma of Mahila Chetana.

In both the cases, the police officers are the complainants, police officers are the investigating officers and the FIRs were filed based on a confession, without any evidence or investigation, and most importantly, the dreaded Acts such as UAPA was invoked, apart from Arms Act, said Lakhsmi of Progressive Organisation for Women.

Most importantly, in the case of V.S. Krishna of HRF, the FIR states that he had given shelter and food to the witnesses of the Vakapalli gang-rape case. “The police should remember that Mr. Krishna had given shelter to the victims and witness of a gang-rape case, which actually is the responsibility of the State, and he had not provided shelter to any accused, which can be termed as unlawful. So how does he attract an Act such as UAPA?,” questioned Ms. Padma.

They submitted a memorandum to the Collector demanding lifting of the cases.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 9:37:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/rights-organisations-stage-protest-in-vizag/article33216823.ece

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