Andhra Pradesh govt imposes National Security Act to quell protests

Hyderabad: In a curious development, Andhra Pradesh government has invoked the National Security Act, 1980 across the state. A Government Order (Go RT No 88) has been issued on 14.01.2020, and the repressive Act will be in force for three months.

The GO appears to have been issued keeping view the resolve of TDP, BJP, Janasena and CPI to intensify the stir against chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s move to shift the capital from Amaravati to Vizag.
Enthused by the response he got in Anantapur district, Leader of Opposition Chandrababu Naidu is planning to tour other districts as well to mobilize people for his “One-Capital-One-State”.

Andhra Pradesh Assembly, which is scheduled to meet from January 20, is expected to pass some key bills related to existing Capital Amaravati and three-capital-proposal, the important being the CRDA Repeal Bill.

The BJP and the Janasena have also joined forces to add to the conditions of unrest prevailing in the state.
As these developments have the potential to derail the shifting process, the Jagan’s government appears to have taken recourse to NSA invocation which gives emergency powers to the district administration and the police.

The Act was brought into force first for three months on October 15, 2019. But it expired on January 14.

Now, the government is under the impression that there is an immediacy to extend the provisions further for three months as the period is crucial for the shifting of the capital to Vizag.

The GO, signed by Nilam Sawhney, chief secretary, the government of AP, has been issued following the reports from Police commissioners of Vijayawada, and Visakhapatnam, existing and the proposed executive capital of the state respectively. The sources in the government said there is some apprehension that these cities might become political hotspots in the next few months.

The government said the reports from Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) had also formed the basis to make a decision in favour of extending the provision for NSA three more months.

The Act, which has earned notoriety as a draconian measure to curb the individual’s liberties to express dissent has come into force in the state from January 16, 2020.

The NAS was promulgated on September 23, 1980, during the Indira Gandhi regime to provide for preventive detention in the matters connected to National Security. A person detained under NSA can be held for ten days without being told.

The AP GO said, “the circumstances and conditions prevailing and likely to prevail within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Collectors and District Magistrates and the Commissioners of Police in the state” have prompted the government to extend NSA provisions beyond January 15, 2020.

The Act authorizes the District Collector or DM or Police Commissioner to detain any person for 12 months. Section 8 (2) says the official need not disclose the fact that led to the detention of the individual. “Nothing in sub-section (1) shall require the authority to disclose facts which it considers to be against the public interest to disclose.

There is apprehension among the political circles that the NSA is being unleashed only to detain political activists leading the “Save Amaravati” campaign.

Jinka Nagaraju

Jinka Nagaraju is a Hyderabad based journalist. He covered the entire spectrum of political activities of Telugu states from Hyderabad and New Delhi for about 3 decades. He represented Vaartha in New Delhi during the most happening decade of 1996-2006. He was political correspondent of Times of India from Hyderabad for 10 years. He was editor of Asianet’s Telugu digital platform. He contributed to many digital media outlets such as Al Jazeera, News 18, Newsable, South Post, The Lede ,Down to Earth etc. He is known for his Anthropological approach in the news analysis. He studied Physical Anthropology and prehistoric archaeology with Human population genetics as specialization, and his area of interest is Political Anthropology and Media Anthropology.

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