The Telangana High Court Saturday came down heavily on state police for the arrest of Osmania University professor Chintakindi Kasim, who was picked up from the university campus in connection to a four-year-old case of alleged Maoist links.
A division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Abhishek Reddy directed Siddipet police and Hyderabad police to produce the professor before them at 10.30 a.m at former’s Bungalow in Banjara Hills on Sunday. The Court also stated that such arrests were unwarranted.
Advocate Verose Raghunath, who appeared for Prof Kasim, told indianexpress.com that a house motion was moved before the Telangana High Court Saturday morning and a two-judge division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Chauhan and Justice Abhishek Reddy heard the case at 5.30 pm for about an hour.
“We placed all the facts before the Court. How the police entered the house breaking the back door and terrorised the family, how grounds of arrest were not informed and all mobile phones were forcibly taken away. We informed the Court that Kasim is a professor, a teaching faculty, a writer and general secretary of an organization called VIRASAM which is constitutionally legally working,” said the advocate.
According to him, the CJ first asked police if they had taken the permission of the university Vice-Chancellor before entering the campus and faculty quarters. The answer was in the negative. The CJ also, according to the advocate, asked “what was the police doing for these many years if the professor was teaching in the university. You say he was absconding. Ridiculous.”
The bench also recalled the testimonies of detainees in similar cases, especially of activists Nalamasa Krishna and Devendra, who were produced before the court.
Chintakindi Kasim is accused in a case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act among other sections in Mulugu Police station in 2016. He is also an accused in five other cases.
Siddipet police, in a statement, said that a search warrant was taken from Gajwel court before conducting a search at Kasim’s Quarter no VI-9 in OU campus between 7 am and 10.05 a.m. During the search, police found revolutionary literature of banned CPI (Maoist) party, pamphlets, CDs and electronic gadgets. Prof Kasim was arrested at 10.15 am and his wife was informed about it, the statement read.
Police have claimed incriminating evidence against the professor for his strong links with the banned party leaders and that he has been a coordinator for funding, among other things.
Kasim’s wife Snehalatha told indianexpress.com that they have not received a notice or summons from the police in connection with the case or investigation to date. She said he was falsely implicated and claimed as absconding. “He is going to university every day. We have not received a notice or warrant or summons to date. How can he be arrested? We demand the false case be withdrawn immediately,” she said.
What is the case?
In 2016, a case was registered against Prof Kasim in Mulugu Police station under section 120B, 121A, 124A of IPC and sections 10, and 18 of UAPA Act.
Human rights activist, and editor of monthly magazine ‘Veekshanam’, N Venugopal told indianexpress.com that the case against Kasim is fabricated. “Police are known to tell lies. In the present case, an accident took place near Mulugu. The driver had left the car and escaped. The police seized the car. When they searched the car they found some books. Those two books are written by Kasim. Even now those books are available in the market. The driver must have bought the books or police might have planted those books, we don’t know,” said Venugopal.
According to him, all shreds of evidence against Kasim are circumstantial. “They allege there are some letters in the car supposed to have written to Maoist leaders signed under suspicious names, this is what the FIR says. No one knows the signatories, or if the letters were found in the car,” he said.
Further, he said, “If you are so serious, why did you take five years to arrest him. He goes to college every day, punches his attendance, and he takes his salary every month from the university. All this while, you have been showing him in court as absconding.”
Who is Chintakindi Kasim?
A native of Mahabubnagar, Kasim has an MPhil from the University of Hyderabad and a Ph.D. from Osmania University. Students and his supporters know him as a powerful speaker and a ‘fierce’ writer. “He has been a strong critic of the government through the magazine and speaks at 2-3 events every week. He is also a very popular teacher” said Venugopal.
Apart from teaching in the department of Telugu at OU, he is also a research guide to 10 Mphil and 10 Ph.D. students. He has authored about 10 books and edits a monthly magazine “Nadustunna Telangana”, meaning Contemporary Telangana.
After completing his MPhil in 1993-94, he joined an oriental college called Saraswatha Parishad in Hyderabad. From a lecturer, he rose to the post of Principal in 12 years after which he joined Nizam College in Hyderabad. After working here for around 8 years and working as head of the department, he was transferred to the OU Arts College a couple of years ago. He has been working as an associate professor in the department of Telugu. He has been living at the OU faculty quarters with his wife and two children.
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