Naidu urges Governor to safeguard freedom of expression

AMARAVATI: Former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday strongly appealed to Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan to intervene and restore the fundamental rights to citizens of Andhra Pradesh as promised in the Constitution.

Naidu termed it as a historic necessity on the part of the Governor going by how there was a continuing spate of unlawful arrests of different sections of people ever since the YSRCP assumed power in 2019.
In a letter addressed to the Governor here, Mr. Naidu said two youths belonging to Prakasam district were wrongfully arrested and tortured by the police. There was gross violation of Article 19 of the Indian constitution. The YSRCP was infringing on free speech and freedom of expression. The ruling party, in connivance with a section of police, is targeting the public to suppress all forms of dissent. People and youth expressing their dissent against the government’s failures on social media came under inhuman and barbarous treatments from the police.

Naidu told the Governor that in latest instance, Vadella Sandeep Kumar of Ongole, and Thottempudi Chandrasekhar of Naidupalem village in Tangutur Mandal of Prakasam District have been arrested on July 16 for social media posts. This was related to news of Tamil Nadu police seizing Rs. 5.27 Crores in a car that has Minister Balineni Srinivas Reddy’s credentials. The same has been telecast and published in Tamil media across Tamil Nadu.

The TDP chief said the Ongole police have not launched any thorough investigation and stringent action against the culprits who were illegally transporting huge amounts of cash from Andhra Pradesh. Instead, the police arrested Sandeep at 1 PM and Chandrasekhar at 4 PM on July 16. The Ongole Rural police arrested the two and moved them from one police station to another, and physically tortured and manhandled them. Such acts of physical torture and manhandling by police have no place in a civilised society and democratic polity like ours.

Naidu told the Governor that the harassment and unlawful arrests based on social media posts was an act of violation of fundamental rights and freedom of expression under Article 19 guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s words should be remembered that the Indian Constitution is not a mere lawyers’ document but it is a ‘Vehicle of Life’, and its spirit is always the spirit of Age. Unfortunately, in contemporary Andhra Pradesh, that ‘spirit’ which Baba Saheb mentioned is under severe attack and the ‘Vehicle of Life’ turned into a fault line that is causing divisions and rifts in AP society.

At this juncture, Mr. Naidu urged for the Governor’s intervention to instill confidence among the youth in the country’s constitutional institutions by strengthening the democratic framework.


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