Secunderabad Agnipath protest: Ex-Armyman from Narsaraopeta held for inciting violence

A case was registered against all three of them under various sections of the IPC, the Railway Act, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act (PDPP Act), and the CrPC.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  25 Jun 2022 12:33 PM GMT
Secunderabad Agnipath protest: Ex-Armyman from Narsaraopeta held for inciting violence

Hyderabad: On 24 June, the Government Railway Police of Secunderabad arrested Avula Subba Rao, the main conspirator who provoked Army aspirants to launch the violent protest at the Secunderabad railway station on 17 June.

He was arrested along with three of his henchmen – Malla Reddy, Shiva Kumar, and B.C Reddy.

A case was registered against all three of them under various sections of the IPC, the Railway Act, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act (PDPP Act), and the CrPC.

The mastermind

Avula Subba Rao had earlier worked as a nursing assistant in the Army. He had quit in 2011. He is familiar with the Army recruitment procedures and rallies. In 2014, he started Sai Defense Academy in Narsaraopeta in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.

Rao used to attend Army recruitment rallies and rent a function hall near the place where the physical tests were conducted. His assistants then lured those who cleared the tests to the function hall. There they trained them for the medical test to be conducted the next morning and assured them a job if they enrolled in their academy.

When they joined the coaching centre, the aspirants submitted their original certificates and signed a bond to pay Rs. 3 lakhs after getting a job. The academy returned the original certificates to the candidates only after they paid the money. In this way, Rao made money from these recruitments.

Call for violence

In 2019, the Army recruitment rallies were held and many who cleared the physical test enrolled in coaching centres to prepare for the exam. But then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the written exam was not conducted and was postponed several times. The coaching centres and the aspirants submitted representations several times to AROs asking them to conduct the CEE exam. The students created WhatsApp groups to share updates about the exam.

On 14 June, the central government shocked the aspirants when it announced the Agnipath recruitment scheme and declared that it was not going to conduct CEE exam for the qualified candidates. Following this, protests erupted in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar leading to violence and the torching of trains.

In Telangana, aspirants wanted to organise a rally and submit a representation to the ARO Secunderabad. But after seeing the violence in other states and provoked by Rao and others, they created different WhatsApp groups (like Railway Station Block, Indian Army Group, Hakimpet Army Soldiers Group, Chalo Secunderabad ARO 3 Group, Army GD 2021 March Rally, CEE Soldiers Group, and Soldiers to Die Group) and asked everyone to gather at the Secunderabad railway station and resort to violence like in Bihar.

Voice messages were sent to these groups asking aspirants to bring petrol to set fire to trains.

Planning the Secunderabad protest

Rao came to Hyderabad from Narsaraopet on the evening of 16 June to monitor the protest and stayed in SVM Grand Lodge at Boduppal. He was also a member of the Hakimpet Soldiers Group and posted a photo of him and Shiva Kumar informing others that he had come to Hyderabad and was supporting the agitation. He directed his henchmen Malla Reddy, Shiva, and B.C Reddy to provoke the aspirants to come to Secunderabad. He promised to pay any expenses they incurred and asked them to cause destruction at the railway station by encouraging the agitators.

Rao had instructed B.C Reddy to gather more students to come to Secunderabad. Reddy was paid Rs. 35,000 to recruit students in the Academy. After provoking the students, he came to Secunderabad to monitor the agitation. He knew about the burning of trains and had told his employer Bharath alias Reddappa to send money to the agitators for printing banners and for other expenses. He also paid Malla Reddy to look after the logistics of agitators at Secunderabad station. They along with other agitators entered the station and pelted stones at trains, police vehicles, and fire engines and set fire to train compartments.

Meanwhile, Rao was monitoring the agitation from SVM Grand lodge, Boduppal. His associates also informed him about the developments and he heard of the vandalism on TV.

Rao planned the protest and provoked the Army job aspirants because he feared that defence coaching centres like Sai Defense Academy would be at risk of closure due to the Agnipath scheme. They would also lose big money.

He later instructed his associates and other group members to delete all WhatsApp groups from their phones and exit the groups. Rao, Malla Reddy, Shiva Kumar, and BC Teddy deleted the WhatsApp groups and the messages, thereby erasing evidence.

The investigation team is now looking for other defence academy directors who supported the incident.

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