Three persons were arrested during the operation, police said.

Police verifying Aadhar card details collected from a womanImage for representation only
news Cordon and Search Monday, January 03, 2022 - 18:41

Several police teams on Sunday, January 2, carried out the controversial cordon and search operation across Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh. All the police stations conducted the raid in their respective jurisdictions. Police raided areas like Addanki, Chirala, Vetapalem, Giddalur and Cumbham in a bid to increase vigilance against illicit activities and to detain “suspicious” persons. Three persons were arrested in the process.

The operation, inspired by the military tactic against terrorism, was carried out from Sunday morning, police said. In the operation, police seized 169 tw0-wheelers, 11 autos and a tractor from the residents for lacking proper documentation to prove their ownership. Along with it, 35 litres of arrack, five kilograms of ganja and 35 liquor bottles were also seized, police said.

Speaking to TNM, Special Branch Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mariyadasu, who carried out the operation said, “The cordon and search was not just a drive against ganja, but against all illegal activities.”

The Prakasam district police in a statement said that the operation was conducted against robbery and anti-social elements. “Apart from taking action against anti-social elements, the cordon and search operation is carried out to share the safety and protection programmes carried out by police to the common people.”

Police sought the cooperation of the people in carrying out the operation. They said that as part of the operation, they have collected integrated data from rowdy-sheeters, anti-social elements, suspect-sheeters and past convicts, besides collecting information about their present employment, etc. 

The cordon and search operation is a highly controversial police action, which primarily targets poor slum settlements. In the operation, police teams cordon off an area and conduct random checks inside the house of the residents, going through their belongings, checking for stolen items, etc. Civil rights activists allege that this extreme action is unlawful. The police carry out these ethically questionable operations under section 94 of Code of Criminal Procedure, which authorises police to search a place suspected to contain stolen property, forged documents, etc. 

“If a district magistrate, sub-divisional magistrate or magistrate of the first class, upon information and after such inquiry as he thinks necessary, has reason to believe that any place is used for the deposit or sale of stolen property, or for the deposit, sale or production of any objectionable article to which this section applies, or that any such objectionable article is deposited in any place, he may by warrant authorise any police officer above the rank of a constable,” the section states. 

However, this section is not applicable to carry out blanket searches, activists argue. The controversial police action was first carried out in Hyderabad.  

“Cordon and search operations enable a range of human rights violations, including physical intimidation and assault, invasion of privacy, arbitrary and unlawful detention, collective punishment and destruction of private property,” a committee comprising activists who had spoken to the residents in Hyderabad, who were subjected to the search, had said earlier.

Read our coverage of surveillance and CASOs in Telangana here

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