Protester mot gripande av ytterliggare en naxalitanklagad professor

Students stage protest against Proffessor J. Appa Rao arrest

The arrest of J. Appa Rao, an Associate Professor of Telugu of Andhra University, on charges of supplying explosives to the Maoists on Thursday has shocked the university community, his friends and relatives. His wife Mynavathi along with her children, six-year-old Sai and four-year-old Charama, brother and sister and a large number of AU students started a dharna opposite the office of Superintendent of Police here after the police failed to make her meet her husband as promised.

His students and colleagues were upset over the way the arrest was made. Ms. Mynavathi, recounting the incident, said that around 1 a.m. she and her husband came out of their room in the AU quarters hearing some commotion. They found about 10 outsiders in the house and did not know if they broke open the door or forced their way in. Prof. Appa Rao, who was wearing a lungi and T shirt was immediately grabbed by them and put in a vehicle. Ms. Mynavathi demanded them who they were and why they were taking her husband away. “We are from ‘department’ they said and latter added police department. I wanted to know if they have a warrant and asked them to show their ID. They said they would take away my husband and let him off after asking a few questions. I wanted to go with him and climbed into the vehicle but was I was forced to get down,” she recounted.

Before taking Prof. Appa Rao, the police took away mobile phones of all those present in the house, including three students who are being taken care by him, his brother and nephew. Ms. Mynavathi’s mother was also present at that time. As the strangers refused to establish their identity, Ms. Mynavathi called her relatives and friends and later lodged a complaint with III Town Police Station. With the “abduction” of AU professor coming out as flash news on news channels Superintendent of Police Koya Praveen announced that Prof. Appa Rao was arrested on the charge of supplying explosives to the Maoists.

06_thsriprof_wife_2189406g“I came here (to the SP’s office) when told that they would make me meet my husband but Additional SP N.J. Rajkumar told me to give a representation,” Ms. Mynavathi said. While she was inside the SP office, students of AU boycotted classes and reached the SP’s office and started a demonstration on the road opposite to it, seeking release of their professor. Ms. Mynavathi joined them and continued to sit there with her children, brother and sister, accompanied by the students, many of them girls. Jagat Roy, Subhan, Shyam, Nagaraju and other student leaders extended support and wanted their professor released immediately.

She is hoping to see her husband who is expected to be produced at a press conference late in the afternoon.

Several students, research scholars and professors of AU along with social workers like D. Lalitha, were shocked at the arrest of Prof. Appa Rao on the charge of having links with Maoists while his real concern is about Girijan students. If the police needed to arrest him, they should have informed the Andhra University authorities, instead of barging into his house at midnight and taking him away, they said. “Prof. Appa Rao must be released unconditionally. He should not be harassed in future,” they demanded.

As far as their knowledge goes, Prof. Appa Rao has no connection with the Maoists. His only concern being welfare of Girijan students, he would have at least three or four students at his house as his guests and take care of their every need. Thanks to his motivation and guidance, at least 50 students could qualify for the Junior Research Fellowship after appearing for NET, recalled professors M. Prasada Rao, Venu Devara, HoD of Telugu Jayaram, senior professor G. Yohan Babu. Like any other tribal, he was also opposing bauxite mining proposal in the Agency area, they said.

The professors met Mr. Rajkumar and were told that their concern would be conveyed to the superior officers. He said the good name Prof. Appa Rao is enjoying among the university community was also noted.

Prof. Appa Rao is a native of Korrapalli village in G. Madugula mandal. He did his MA and Ph.D. in Central University, Hyderabad and M.Phil. in AU. He worked at the Government Degree College, Chintapalli before joining AU’s Telugu Department in 2006.

A dump of explosives was reportedly unearthed in Visakha Agency some time ago and the people caught with it had reportedly said Prof. Appa Rao sent them the gelatin sticks.

OPDR general secretary Ch Bhaskara Rao condemned the midnight arrest of Prof Appa Rao by the police and demanded his immediate unconditional release.

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