The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday raided several Dalit and human rights activists across 31 locations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over their alleged links with Maoists.
The central anti-terror body conducted raids at Hyderabad residence of V Raghunath, an advocate in high court, and activist Chiluka Chandrasekhar. Both of them are members of a human rights organisation named Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee. Besides Hyderabad, the raids were conducted in four other districts of Telangana – Ranga Reddy, Medchal, Malajgiri and Medak.
Meanwhile, another team of NIA officials conducted raids at residences of advocates K Padma and KS Chalam in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam. Searches were also conducted on other members of the same organisation in Kurnool, Kadapa and Rajahmundry districts.
News18 has accessed the FIR copy in which as many as 64 people, mainly journalists and activists, have been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and sedition for allegedly helping and funding Maoists to carry out terror activities in the country.
The suspected “urban-Naxals” link came to light in November last year when the Andhra Pradesh Police arrested a journalist named Pangi Naganna, who allegedly facilitated meetings between Maoists and civil society activist, who have been named in the FIR.
During the interrogation, Naganna also revealed that he passed on inside information about police movements to Maoist leaders and even instigated villagers to obstruct the cops from entering their area. A book on Maoist literature, wire bundles, mobile phones and press notes were also recovered from Naganna at the time of his arrest.
Meanwhile, sources within NIA told News18 that they will conduct more such raids in coming days to crack down on those “working at the behest of Maoists”. While the NIA claims that these activists have links with Maoists, members of the civil society have condemned the raids and called it a “targeted witch-hunt”.