In a letter to the Telangana Chief Minister, Congress Member of Parliament (MP) TN Prathapan has called the case against 14 students at the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) for taking part in anti-CAA protest as unfortunate. The FIR (first information) has been registered by the Raidurgam police station, Cyberabad, against the students for taking part in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) on February 21, 2020. Although the FIR was registered in February, the students learnt about it only a few days ago this month, when one of the students received notice to appear before the investigating officer.
Read: 14 HCU students learn about case against them months after CAA/NRC protest in February
MP Prathapan urged the CM to withdraw the case against them â€śto protect the fundamental rights of students to protestâ€ť.
"It must be considered as an unfortunate action by Telangana police while we have numerous accounts of misleading and biased actions of Delhi Police towards anti CAA protests. I didn't expect such a move from your government towards the dissent of students' community against the unconstitutional citizenship act by NDA government," said the MP from Kerala.
Naming the students charged in the FIR, Prathapan said that they should be considered promising youth who â€śpeacefully strengthen democratic values of our society through their dissentâ€ť. They hail from different states including Telangana, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Bihar. It was on February 21 that they took part in a rally from Hyderabad Central University to Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU).
Prathapan stressed that peaceful protests cannot be considered an offence and not tolerating such dissent would mean we are no longer democratic. "Students' community in Hyderabad has proven their commitment towards our society during their struggle for ensuring justice for Rohith Vemula. That spirit should be considered and preserved," he said.
The case was registered based on a complaint of the Sub-Inspector of Police Raidurgam, who was on duty at MANUU at the time of the protest. The students have been booked under 143 (unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to public servants order), read with 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
On Sunday, the Students Union of the University has also condemned the case against the student leaders. They have called the police action 'witch-hunting' and staged a protest on the campus.