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Fact finding team arrested

Balla Ravindranath, Chikkudu Prabhaker, Durga Prasad, Duddu Prabhakar, Rajendra Prasad,
Nazeer and Ramanala Laxmaiyya.
Fact-finding team of Telangana Democratic Front

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on January 5, 2017, regarding the arrest of members of a fact-finding team, comprising lawyers, journalists, students, and activists, by the Telangana police. They were later handed over to the Chhattisgarh Police. The members of the fact-finding team are charged with the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), 2005.

Members of the fact-finding team from Telangana Democratic Front are:
1. Balla Ravindranath, Advocate, High Court, Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Telangana and General Secretary of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP).
2. Chikkudu Prabhaker, Advocate, High Court, AP and Telangana, and Convenor,
Telangana Democratic Forum.
3. Durga Prasad, Independent Journalist, Hyderabad.
4. Duddu Prabhakar, President, AP Kula Nirmulana Porata Samiti (Committee for
Caste Annihilation).
5. Rajendra Prasad, Telangana Vidhyarthi Vedika (Telangana Students Forum).
6. Nazeer, Telangana Vidhyarthi Vedika (Telangana Students Forum).
7. Ramanala Laxmaiyya, Secretary, Adivasi Tudem Dubba, Khammam.

The fact-finding team was enquiring about human rights violations of Adivasis in Chhattisgarh. They were detained by the police near Dummugundem in Kothagudem district of Telangana on the morning of 25 December 2016. Later, they were handed over to the Chhattisgarh police. It is to be noted that it is shown by the Chhattisgarh Police that the arrest was made in Konta, Chhattisgarh. They were charged under Sections 8(1), 8(2), 8(3), and 8(5) of the Chhattisgarh Special Powers Security Act, 2005 for allegedly possessing ‘banned literature’, old currency notes, etc, and were produced in a court in Sukma on 26 December 2016. The court ordered to send them to judicial custody at Sukma prison.

It has to be noted that the arrest was actually made by the Telangana police within Telengana and there is no reason that they should have been handed over to the Chhattisgarh police. The Chhattisgarh police further misled the court stating that they have been arrested in Chhattisgarh as mentioned in their official press release. On 3 January 2017, their bail application was rejected by the district court, Dantewada.

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