HC seeks govt response on police brutality in Amravati

HC seeks govt response on police brutality in Amravati

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday sought a response from the state government by January 17 on petitions by farmers and women of 29 villages in Amaravati region, alleging that police were acting against norms and suppressing peaceful protests against the proposed move to shift the capital from here. When the petitions came up before a vacation bench, headed by Chief Justice J K Maheswari, it directed the state government to file an affidavit with full details by Friday.

State Advocate General S Sriram wanted the case put off till next Monday, but the Bench disallowed his plea and directed that an affidavit be filed by Friday. The court gave the direction on a batch of petitions filed by the women and the farmers against alleged police 'high handedness'. They also presented to the court what they claimed was photographic evidence of the police action.

The petitioners contended that police were acting against norms and suppressing peaceful protests. Farmers and women in the 29 villages in Amaravati region have been on an agitation path since December 18, demanding that the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government drop its plan to shift the state capital to Visakhapatnam.

While the agitation continued without any incident in the first week, police subsequently started using force to quell the protestors in different villages, they submitted. Police also claimed that they violated prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Cr PC and Section 30 of the Indian Police Act and slapped cases against them, the petitioners submitted. In the last one week, police launched a massive crackdown on the protests and made a lathi charge as women tried to take out a paadayatra (foot march) from the region to Kanaka Durga temple in nearby Vijayawada city, the petitioners alleged. Male constables allegedly manhandled women protestors, besides abusing them. The women also alleged that they were being kept under house arrest and not allowed to venture out.

Guntur Rural Superintendent of Police C Vijaya Rao, however, denied all the allegations and said they had only tried to enforce the prohibitory orders. The National Commission for Women also conducted an inquiry into the police excesses.

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