The Human Rights Forum (HRF) condemns the disallowing by the Telangana government of a seminar, rally and public meeting by the Forum For Alternative Politics in Hyderabad on Sunday. The reported preventive detention of over 200 persons by the police since the night before so as to foil the meeting is highly deplorable. Only a regime that is disrespectful of democratic norms would forbid free expression, the fundamental right to assembly and allow the police to resort to such actions.
HRF also takes strong exception to the continued ban on two TV channels in Telangana. Today marks 100 days of the ban. This is unprecedented and is extremely dangerous for Press freedom. The denial of any involvement in the ban by ruling TRS government functionaries is not at all convincing. It is widely believed that the Chief Minister is exhibiting a vindictive attitude in the whole matter. This was plainly evident in his intemperate remarks about the media at a recent public meeting in Warangal.
We also recall that after the new government has assumed office in Telangana there have been at least two other instances where the police have unleashed excessive force on agitators. One was the occasion when farmers in Chegunta mandal of Medak district protesting against irregular supply of power were set upon by the police. More recently, on September 10, Lambada residents of Krishna Thanda and Gurrambodu Thanda in Mattampally mandal of Nalgonda district who were opposing the proposal to set up a thermal plant in their area were also subjected to a lathi-charge by the police.
These are ominous signs and are totally unacceptable. We call upon the new government to henceforth desist from such undemocratic conduct and to be respectful of people’s rights.
VS Krishna S Jeevan Kumar
(HRF general secretary) (HRF president)