In a crackdown on activists, who were protesting at Gun Park in Hyderabad on Friday, the Telangana Police allegedly manhandled prominent activist and educationist Prof G Haragopal. The activists had gathered at Gun Park, under the banner of Save Education Committee and were planning to launch a national campaign ‘Save Education Yatra’ to ensure free education for all. The campaign also aimed to remind the ruling TRS of its promise of free education from kindergarten to postgraduation, along with common schooling for all with equal access and quality.
However, claiming that the gathering was illegal as they did not take prior permission, the Saifabad police allegedly manhandled the activists and forcefully bundled them up in vans. Visuals from the protest show professor Haragopal being pushed around by police, as they try to detain him. He then falls on to the ground before being picked up and shoved into the van. Few students were also reportedly injured during the scuffle.
The professor later was taken to Bollarum police station while others were let off. Others who have been detained include Prof Laxminarayana and Prof Chakradhar Rao.
Saifabad police Venkat Reddy said that the gathering was illegal and caused inconvenience.
“We did not register any case. The students didn’t let the police detain the activists, so we had to forcefully take them. No charges were filed against them. This is only preventive detention,” he said.
He further added that one girl, who had fainted during the commotion, is well and has gone to home.
Speaking to TNM, professor Haragopal, who has since been released, said, "The police did resort to rough treatment." He said that the yatra was a 100-day national campaign, demanding the Centre to ensure that the poorest of poorest gets quality education for free.
Activist Sandhya who also took part in the protest said, “This is the first time that Professor Haragopal has been manhandled in this manner. Even under the Andhra regime, we didn’t face such brutality. Both the Centre and KCR government specifically have been attacking the educationists. This is really shameful. If civil rights activists don’t condemn it, it will be a shame.”
Prof Haragopal worked at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Hyderabad before his retirement. He is also a Visiting Professor at NLSUI in Bengaluru.