HYDERABAD: Around 8.30 am on Tuesday, a posse of cops dressed in plainclothes, and armed with a search warrant written in Marathi, landed at the doorstep of professor K Satyanarayana, who is the head of cultural studies department at EFLU. “They started pulling out our books, clothes and everything else in our house. They did not let us even peep outside our home,” says Satyanarayana.
“There have been no cases or chargesheets against me, ever,” says Satyanarayana, son-in-law of revolutionary poet Varavara Rao. Cops from Pune, with help from local police, conducted a whopping nine-hour-long marathon search at his teaching quarters in EFLU campus. “I know nothing about Bhima Koregaon, but now I am afraid I could be implicated in some case or the other,” says Satyanarayana.
After the search ended, at around 5 pm, the professor and his wife Pavana, along with their colleagues and students, marched from the campus till the entry gate of the university. “They were picking all material that was printed in red or had mentions or Dalits, Caste or photos of Karl Marx.” “We are academicians,” says Satyanarayana. “We draw conclusions after extensive reading, but they were asking why we read all these books.” His wife Pavana then pitched in: “They even said that if we read so many books we might be dangerous.” Pavana, who teaches English at a private degree college, says she also works with people’s organisations on gender and women’s issues.
Meanwhile, journalist KV Kurmanath, the other son-in-law of Varavara Rao, was taking a morning walk when a team of cops walked up to and confiscated his cell phone. Later, they raided his house and seized his laptop and the hard disk from his son’s gaming computer. From Satyanarayana’s house, the officials seized three laptops, a PC hard disk, pen drives and some published literature. “My father-in-law supported the fight of around 18 lakh tenant farmers for their inclusion in Rythu Bandhu scheme. Now the Chief Minister is thinking of going for early polls, but TRS will lose the vote of farmers’. So, KCR might have thought of killing two birds with one stone -- pleasing Modi and silencing the voice of people with this arrest,” he alleged.
‘It never happened this way’: Varavara Rao’s wife Hemalatha is not new to arrests or searches. But, she found Tuesday’s raids and her husband’s arrest to be “first of its kind”. She says: “This is the first time that they have raided our daughters and son-in-laws. Families being targeted is a new trend. They forcefully made us give our email addresses and passwords. They also asked me to sign a document written in Marathi. When I demanded an English version, they refused.”
Police make GD entry
Chikkadpally police made a GD entry of the searches conducted at Varavara Rao’s residence. Pune police had informed the Chikkadpally police about the arrest. An official from Hyderabad police said they had provided assistance to the Pune police for the searches.
HRF condemns arrests
Condemning the arrests, the Human Rights Forum (HRF) said that the arrests are part of a design to lock down on democratic dissent, create a climate of fear and undermine free speech. HRF’s AP and Telangana coordination committee members said that the highly undemocratic legislation - the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, is a draconian statute .