Two helicopters and six boats were pressed into service to rescue people while holiday has been declared for educational institutions.
Following an outrage over registration of cases against human rights activist Prof Haragopal and 151 others by Telangana Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao directed the state DGP Anjani Kumar to withdraw the draconian law.
According to sources, the chief minister inquired about the need for the UAPA charges following which the DGP asked the superintendent of police of Mulugu to consider dropping the charges. However, it is not clear if the charges under IPC will also be dropped or diluted.
Meanwhile, under the banner of the Forum Against Repression, Telangana a round-table conference was held by intellectuals, human rights and other organisations where it was decided to build a public movement against the invocation of the UAPA and demand repeal of the Act.
Prof. Haragopal, the convenor of the forum, pointed out how the UAPA was being misused and that even in unified AP such charges were never slapped on him.
On 19 August, 2022, the police in the Mulugu district had registered a case against 152 people after combing operations following a tip-off that led them to a temporary shelter where Maoists were allegedly holding a meeting. Although none of them were caught the police found Maoist literature, kitbags and other things.
The activists say the police seemed to have named people heading various organisations and associations, including former the professor of Hyderabad Central University, former Osmania University professor Padmaja Shaw, activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and even late former judge of Bombay High Court Justice H Suresh who died two years before the FIR was registered.
Although the FIR was registered under the UAPA, none of the 152 accused were aware of it. It came to light only when Chandramouli, president of People’s Democratic Movement, sought bail in a Ranga Reddy court while the police, opposing the bail petition, cited other cases against him. The court then asked for details of the other cases when this particular case of omnibus FIR against 152 people was revealed.