Telangana

Professor’s arrest raises concerns if State is silencing dissent voices: HC

Arrested associate professor of Osmania University Chinthakindi Kaseem waves from the police van as he is taken away from the Chief Justice’s residence in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Arrested associate professor of Osmania University Chinthakindi Kaseem waves from the police van as he is taken away from the Chief Justice’s residence in Hyderabad on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: G. Ramakrishna

Questions raised about protecting fundamental rights of citizens

Of late, the police had been arresting individuals on charge of being ‘Maoist sympathisers’. But the arrest of a university professor on similar charge propels the court to “see if voices of the dissent are being silenced by the State by using its eminent power or not”.

Making this observation in an order over the habeas corpus petition seeking production of Osmania University associate professor Chinthakindi Kaseem, the Telangana High Court on Sunday said his case was “quite different from the hues and shades of other cases”. The arrested professor, making a statement before the Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy, said that police planted ‘some Maoist literature’ in his house and later showed it as ‘material recovered in the searches’.

The Bench noted that the professor’s case posed questions not only about an individual’s personal liberty but also the issue of protecting fundamental rights of a citizen. The matter also pertained to protection of institutions of higher learning from “being interfered by the State”, the order said.

Manner of arrest

The manner of arrests of ‘Maoist sympathisers’, timing (either at dead of night or at early hours) and their production ‘routinely’ before a magistrate raise concerns of the court. “A slim possibility does exist that human rights and constitutional mandates are being violated by the State”, the Bench said in the order. The Bench remarked that most of the detained persons in ‘Maoist sympathisers’ case alleged that Maoist literature was planted in their residences by the police.

Referring to the police claim that lot of Maoist literature was recovered from Mr. Kaseem’s house, the Bench said it was important to ascertain content and nature of the literature seized. It instructed the Police Department to indicate which books, pamphlets and documents the State had found objectionable. This was crucial because the arrested professor had been teaching Dalit and Revolutionary literature which question fundamental principles and beliefs of society, the order said.

‘Present evidence’

Referring to the remand report in which the police accused the professor of collecting money from businessmen and contractors and passing on it to the Maoist party, the Bench instructed Advocate General to present evidence before it on the matter. Evidence should also be furnished to substantiate the allegation that Mr. Kaseem participated in Maoist party meetings in Chhattisgarh State, the order said.

Lawyer V. Raghunath, who presented arguments in the habeas corpus petition, later told media persons that a bail petition seeking the professor’s release would be filed on Monday. He said the Bench had directed the authorities to consider the request of the professor for shifting him from Sangareddy prison to Cherlapally Central Prison.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 11:32:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/professors-arrest-raises-concerns-if-state-is-silencing-dissent-voices-hc/article30601356.ece

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