Telangana: Journalist Critical Of Govt Charged For Conspiring Against State With Maoists
N Venugopal Rao, the editor of Veekshanam Collective, a Telugu monthly journal, has been booked under various sections of the IPC including Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Telangana Public Security Act and others.
Venugopal has been a constant critic of the Modi government as well as of the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government in the state.
He has been named as one of the seven accused of conspiring against the state with Maoist connections. The publication issued a statement on Saturday, terming the case as a “demonstration of vindictive attitude of the rulers against a newspaper editor for following the freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution.”
In the remand case diary presented before the LB Nagar II Metropolitan Magistrate on November 13, N Venugopal is described as “member of Viplava Rachayitala Sangham” popularly known as “Virasam” and also indicated as “absconding”. Virasam was founded by Varvara Rao, who is known for his radical left positions.
He was arrested by Pune police on November 17, 2018, citing an involvement to plot and kill Modi. However, the editorial team at Veekshanam has denied Venugopal’s relationship with Virasam since 2009, following a “controversy on an article he wrote at that time” and running his own monthly journal fulltime.”
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Venugopal said, “Police have not tried to call me or reach out to me. In the remand case diary, it has been mentioned all the accused are absconding and anytime they may arrest to get further evidence.”
The publication further stated that on November 12, N Ravi Sharma and B Anuradha were arrested ‘out of the blue’ and the police allegedly started harassing Venugopal, terming him as an accused in the case by fabricating information. The couple had first been arrested way back in 2009, by Jharkhand police for allegedly participating in Maoists activities and were later released in 2016.
When the raids were conducted on the couple’s residence, the police claimed to have found “incriminating” evidence against the couple and seized “revolutionary literature”, which included a collection of poems written by Varavara Rao, three laptops, pen drives and memory cards.
According to The Wire, the couple was arrested by police when they were trying to organise a press conference to condemn the Supreme Court’s judgment to hand over the disputed Ayodhya site to the Hindus. The police saw this as an attempt to promote “anti-Hindu feelings among the public”.