He Also Asks If State Govt Is Trying To Crush Dissent
Telangana high court on Sunday directed the state government and the police to submit evidence within four days to establish their claim that arrested Osmania University associate professor Chintakindi Kaseem had links with Maoists.
“These days, police are arresting people in the name of being Maoist sympathisers. Now, even professors are not being spared. Is the state trying to crush dissent this way by using its eminent domain power?” asked Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan, who along with Justice Abhishek Reddy, was hearing a house motion moved by Telangana Civil Liberties Committee, seeking Kaseem’s production before the court.
On Saturday, police had arrested Kaseem from his official residence inside the Osmania University campus. The CJ, taking serious note of the police action, threatened to order a CBI inquiry against them if they failed to produce Kaseem on Sunday morning. Police brought Kaseem to the CJ’s residence for the hearing.
Kaseem, in his deposition before the chief justice, contended that he hails from a Scheduled Caste background and was never involved with any Maoist activity. The professor also said that his writings were critical of the state and would countinue to condemn the negligent attitude of the authorities in resolving the problems faced by the poor and marginal sections of society.
Kaseem added that he spoke against the authorities when they showed a slack attitude in resolving the problems of students of Osmania University.
Responding to the chief justice’s query, Kaseem said that the police did not illtreat him or misbehave with him when he was there in their custody.
He, however, did not agree with the contents of his alleged confession before the police. “I never admitted that I participated in any Maoist-related activity,” he said.
The CJ, then, told advocate-general BS Prasad: “Show us evidence that he collected money from businessmen and used the same to propagate Maoist ideology. Provide us evidence about his alleged travel to Chhattisgarh to participate in Maoist meetings.”
Prasad told the court that there were six FIRs against Kaseem, including the current one, and all those spoke about his involvement in Maoist programmes. The CJ recorded Kaseem’s statement and directed the authorities to consider the professor’s request to shift him to Cherlapalli jail from Sanga Reddy jail where he was remanded in after his arrest by a trial court.
Teachers’ bodies and students have vehemently criticised the police action.
At least 10 persons, including students, were taken into preventive custody when they tried to reach the CJ’s residence.
Since October 4 last year, 17 people have been arrested in Telangana for alleged Maoist-links.