Friday, March 05, 2010

Andhra: What OU students told the SC

Prabhakar Rao VorugantiFirst Published : 04 Mar 2010 05:22:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 04 Mar 2010 09:18:31 AM IST

NEW DELHI: U Anitha and three other students of the Osmania University, who are the respondents in the Special Leave Petition filed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh told the apex court that the demand for a separate State of Telangana is more than 55-years-old.

In their counter affidavit filed in response to the affidavit of the Government of AP, Anitha, second year student of MA (Economics) and three others stated that students of the Osmania University took out a peace rally in the campus on February 14 to express their solidarity with the MLAs and the MPs who quit their posts for the cause of Telangana.

Incensed by this, the special armed forces of the Centre and the State, such as the Rapid Action Force and the Greyhounds switched off the power in the campus and attacked the students and the journalists covering the rally mercilessly with lathis.
Greyhounds are meant only for special operations like the jungle operations against Naxalites, the affidavit stated. Teargas shells were lobbed and vehicles damaged.
These paramilitary forces entered the hostels and molested the girl students.
This was to deter them from participating in the movement. All this was telecast live by all the TV channels, the students stated.

Aghast at this, the students and journalists moved the High Court the very next day, on February 15 seeking the removal of the special forces from the campus. Sensing the gravity and seriousness of the situation in the campus, single judge of the High Court directed the State Government to remove the Special Armed Forces from the campus as they were deployed there without the consent of the Vice Chancellor.
A writ appeal was filed by the AP Government challenging this order, but the same was dismissed by the Division Bench on February 16. The action of the State/police on February 14 is in total breach of the guidelines of the AP Police Manual, they pointed out.

The contention of the Government of Andhra Pradesh that Naxalites had intruded into the campus is wrong. It is only a ruse to suppress the peaceful agitation of students in the campus by deploying special armed forces. This is evident from the fact that not a single Naxalite was nabbed or identified so far by the police in the campus after the cur rent movement was launched, they averred.

To emphasize as to how serious the movement for Telangana is, the students pointed out that more than 250 people have committed suicide either by immolating themselves or by hanging themselves or by throwing themselves before the running trains.
This in two months’ span.

Five people killed themselves on a single day on February 20, the students said.
During the earlier agitation for Telangana in 1969, 369 people were killed in police firing, they said and added that the continued presence of the special armed forces on the campus and the suppression of the students’ movement would only further aggravate the situation, they said.

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