The NIA today conducted several raids at the residences of civil rights activists and "Maoist sympathisers", and alleged front organisations in the two Telugu-speaking states.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) today conducted raids at the residences of civil rights activists and "Maoist sympathisers", and alleged front organisations in the two Telugu-speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
They were conducted in 31 difference places across the two states, including in Rangareddy, Hyderabad, Medchal, and Medak in Telangana, and in Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, Kurnool and Kadapa districts in Andhra Pradesh.
Following the raids, which began on Wednesday evening and continued till 3 am today, the officials revealed that they had seized 40 cell phones, 44 SIM cards, 70 hard disks, several micro SD cards, 19 pen drives, audio recorders, weapons, Maoists literature, press notes and cash worth Rs 10 lakh.
The exercise came after a case registered on November 23, 2020 at the Munchingput police station in Visakhapatnam (Rural) district, was re-registered by the NIA on March 7, 2021.
The case pertains to the seizure of "revolutionary" CPI (Maoist) literature, press notes, medicines, wire bundles and explosive substances from an accused, Pangi Naganna, who was intercepted by the Munchingput police in November last year during a routine vehicle check. Naganna was reportedly travelling on his bike in the direction of Basuput.
Investigations revealed that Naganna had been fronting as a journalist and was passing information about police movements to the leaders of the banned CPI(Maoist). He was also reportedly under investigation for allegedly instigating the villagers to obstruct combing operations of the police and to prevent them from entering into villages. In short, the accused was investigated for motivating the villagers to revolt against the police and to hold rallies against the Indian government.
Till now, five accused persons apart from Pangi Naganna have been arrested in connection with the case. They have been identified as Anduluri Annapurna, Jangarla Koteswar Rao, Manukonda Srinivasa Rao, Rela Rajeswari and Boppudi Anjamma .
The NIA officials have also questioned several other activists. The activists whose houses were raided include High Court Advocate Raghunath, Dappu Ramesh, John, and the leader of a women's association Shilpa.
The officials had already served notices to the four arrested activists and had asked them to appear before the investigation body today. However, Raghunath had informed the officials that he would appear before the NIA on April 3 instead. The officials reportedly agreed to this.
The affected activists and many others have strongly condemned the raids saying that they (the raids) were nothing but an attack on the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Indian constitution to each and every citizen of the nation.
As reported increases in the number of UAPA cases registered in India over the last five years continue to cause public outrage, one wonders what reaction these recent raids will elicit from the people of the two states and across the country.